India and Sri Lanka held Ministerial level talks on Fishermen’s issues in New Delhi. Radha Mohan Singh, Minister of Agriculture met with Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development of Sri Lanka. The talks followed the 3rd Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries.
According to a joint communique issued in New Delhi, the Ministers agreed that a permanent solution to the fishermen issues should be found at the earliest. The Indian side was satisfied with the progress on release of apprehended fishermen and detained fishing vessels in the recent past, while reiterating the release of all the remaining Indian fishing vessels in Sri Lankan custody.
Recent initiatives taken by India to end bottom trawling in the Palk Bay area were shared with the Sri Lankan side. These include launching of a programme on diversification of bottom trawlers into Deep Sea Fishing Vessels for tuna long lining under Blue Revolution Scheme, construction of Mookaiyur and Poompuhar fishing harbours, etc.. Besides, fresh registration for bottom trawlers in the Palk Bay area has been banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu. In addition, alternative livelihood opportunities for the fishing communities in Palk Bay area are being offered through open sea cage farming, seaweed farming and other allied coastal fisheries activities. While acknowledging the efforts taken by India to end bottom trawling, the Sri Lankan side informed about the measures taken by Sri Lanka to prevent illegal fishing.