Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage said yesterday though the Sri Lankan and Indian Navies maintain a vibrant relationship, the Indian Navy and Coastguard units are often helpless when it comes to poaching by Indian fishermen.
“We have an excellent working relationship and the bulk of the training comes from the Indian Navy. But I would say that the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are helpless. They advise them not to cross but they cross.” he said.
He said from Pambaran to Tuticorin there was a large coastal belt which was difficult even for the Indian Navy to supervise.
“They are using the bottom-trawling method which is destructive to marine resources. Forty per cent of what they collect is useless, so they throw it away,” he said.
“They submerge a net with a scraper and drag it along, so the speed of the boat allows it to take not only fish or prawns but it also damages corals and other natural reefs,” he noted.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror he said a large number of Indian fishermen entered Lankan waters to catch shrimp in order to protect the multi-billion dollar shrimp industry in Tamil Nadu.
“Tamil Nadu is the largest exporter of shrimp to the world. Since they have exploited their fish resources it has become a problem for them, so they enter our waters which are rich in prawns. They even export shrimp to the European Union,” he said.