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* Indian fishermen were well within Sri Lanka's territorial waters - Navy
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 11:53 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 21, Jaffna: Sri Lankan Navy Monday arrested 25 Indian fishermen for poaching well within the country's waters, the Navy said.

Naval vessels attached to the Northern Naval Command on routine patrol arrested the 25 Indian fishermen and seized six Indian fishing trawlers engaged in bottom trawling in the seas off Delft on 20th January, the Navy said.

The arrested fishermen and trawlers were handed over to the officials of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Jaffna for legal action.

The Navy said it was compelled to make the arrest since the Indian fishermen were poaching well within the Sri Lanka's territorial waters despite the recent talks held between the two neighboring countries to refrain from illegal methods of fishing and restrict fishing to own waters without any incursions across the IMBL.

The arrests come ahead of the January 27 meeting scheduled between the representatives of fishermen on both sides.

During the ministerial level meeting held between Sri Lanka's Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and the Indian union Minster of Agriculture Sharad Pawar on January 15, the two sides agreed to release all the fishermen detained in each other's jails.

Indian fishing vessels poaching in Sri Lankan waters have deprived the Sri Lankan fishermen of their legal fish catch and threatened their livelihood. Wanton bottom trawling resorted to by Indian poachers has caused enormous damage to the marine ecology in the Palk Bay destroying fish breeding grounds, the Navy says.

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