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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2341

Foreign Fisheries Vessels Act meant to stop Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters

Colombo, 13 July, (Asiantribune.com):

Sri Lankan Government is currently in the drafting process of a piece of legislation, to stop Indian fishermen entering the Sri Lankan waters.

The proposed new legislation- Act, with the view to stop Indian fishermen entering the Sri Lankan waters, would impose fines up to Rs.100 million for vessels poaching in Sri Lankan waters and proposals have also been received to increase it up to Rs 175 million.

“Around 80 percent of the drafting process of the Foreign Fisheries Vessels Act has been completed and it will be presented to Parliament this year, Amaraweera said.

The minister said the new Act, fines will be imposed on the vessel owner who will have to appear in courts to secure the release of the vessel. Foreign fishermen involved in poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters are now charged under the Immigration Act for unlawfully entering the country.

In the meantime, according to Indian media, Rameshwaram fishermen had been protesting against the Sri Lankan government amending its Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, to ban bottom trawling in the territorial waters of the country, said the Minister.

Minister Mahinda Amaraweera commenting on the protests by Indian fishermen in Rameshwaram said that the Act introduced by Sri Lanka was to stop bottom trawling and was formulated for the betterment of the Sri Lankans and not the Indians.

Amaraweera elaborated by clarifying that the Fisheries Act was amended to strengthen the International Fisheries Law and also to protect the marine resources of the country by adding that all these decisions have been taken for the benefit of Sri Lankan fishermen and not for the fishermen in other countries.

This has a major impact on the marine environment and species. Poaching by the Indian fisherman has caused a massive decrease in the population of fish like shrimps etc, Amaraweera said.

"The goal of this Act is to completely stop any foreign boats entering our boundaries to harvest our fish".

If caught, the suspects would definitely be prosecuted in Court. Until then poaching fishermen will not be free to leave the country, Minister said.

India's Central Government has observed the matter and accepts the problem. They are willing to negotiate a deal to set free the 42 Indian fishermen who are now in custody, the minister stated during a media briefing on the Crab City in Hambantota.

- Asian Tribune –
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Foreign Fisheries Vessels Act meant  to stop Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters
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