Dec 22, Colombo: The Fisheries Ministry of Sri Lanka has sought advice from the Attorney General to introduce legal measures to act against fishermen who violate the country's maritime laws.
Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne told an English weekly newspaper that under the current system, the Sri Lankan authorities could only confiscate the boats of the Indian fishermen who infringe Sri Lanka's maritime laws.
He said that the Indian fishermen who violate Sri Lanka's laws are most often released while the Sri Lankan fishermen taken into custody by Indian authorities often undergo severe hardships.
Currently 120 Sri Lankan fishermen and 40 boats are detained in India.
Sri Lankan fishermen associations and relatives of the jailed fishermen complain that arrests of Sri Lankan fishermen by Indian Coast Guard go unnoticed since the Sri Lankan government does not take effective measures to secure their release promptly and the fishermen languish in Indian jails for a long time.
According to Gunaratne, the Fisheries Ministry is now waiting for legal directions from the Attorney General's Department.