Aug 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka will adopt a new stringent policy to deal with the continuous problem of Indian fishermen invading the country's territorial waters, the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said today.
Addressing a media briefing the Minister said as part of a new initiative to be adopted by the government on humanitarian grounds to deal with Indian fishermen, the authorities will from now on confiscate their boats as opposed to the usual practice of releasing the boats with the fishermen.
The Minister explained that the Indian fishermen are also suffering as a result of the actions by their boat owners and languishing in Sri Lanka's jails. However, the fishermen in custody will be released soon, he said.
Minister's comments come in the backdrop of Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's announcement today that Indian government is "strongly" taking up the issue of fishermen detention with the Sri Lankan government.
Khurshid said the central government attached highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen and effective steps are being taken to address the issue of early release of 106 Indian fishermen currently in Sri Lankan custody.
Minister Senaratne said Sri Lanka will solve the problem with India under mutual understanding.
Speaking of the status of the fishing industry in the island, Minister Senaratne said the government has spent over Rs. 8 billion during the last few years after the war ended to uplift the fishing industry in the northern and eastern provinces and the fishing industry in the region has experienced a significant development during this period.