Sri Lanka to talk to India on fishing

Colombo, June 1 (IANS) Sri Lanka said on Monday that it will continue to engage with India on the fishermen issue to seek satisfactory short-term and long-term solutions.

The foreign ministry said it was aware of remarks by the minister of fisheries who had said that he had rejected a proposal by India to resolve the fishing issue, reports Xinhua.

The ministry said Sri Lanka recognized that the issue of Indian fishermen fishing in Sri Lankan waters required the careful attention of the authorities on both sides, especially in view of the impact on livelihood of both Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen.

“The Sri Lankan fishermen in the north have recommenced their livelihood after many years of conflict and their concerns therefore require special attention,” the ministry said.

“The issue is one that has environmental implications as well for Sri Lanka, arising from the methods of fishing used, especially bottom trawling.

“The matter of Indian fishermen apprehended in Sri Lankan waters is approached from a humanitarian perspective in view of the livelihood dimension involved. All efforts are therefore taken to ensure their expeditious release,” the ministry said.

Consultations between the two governments on these issues have taken place at various levels over time and discussions are continuing.

A request made earlier by Indian fishermen to engage in fishing in Sri Lankan waters for 83 days a year for three years had been duly considered but rejected by the Sri Lankan fishermen.

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