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* Sri Lanka, India talks on fishing rights end with no agreements in sight
Mon, May 12, 2014, 11:19 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 12, Colombo: The second round of discussions held in Colombo today between the representatives of Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen ended without reaching any agreements, Fisheries Ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa said.

He said the day-long talks today were not successful as Sri Lankan fishermen did not want to grant the requests from the Indian side to allow them fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

Sri Lankan fishermen have steadfastly rejected requests from Indian side to allow them to fish in Sri Lankan waters and strongly opposed the bottom trawling by the Indian fishermen.

"Sri Lankan community representatives were vehemently opposed to the Indians' bottom trawling practice," he said.

The Indian fishermen have requested three years of time to stop the bottom trawling practice but the Sri Lankan fishermen wanted them to immediately stop fishing in Sri Lankan waters. They said it is a violation of international maritime laws.

The Sri Lankan representatives have pointed out that they resumed their livelihood after thirty years of war and the fishing practice of bottom trawling damage fishery resources seriously affecting their livelihoods.

During the armed conflict Sri Lankan fishermen were restricted from fishing in the northern seas and the Indian fishermen took advantage of the fishery resources in the area during that time.

For the second round of discussions, 18 leaders of fisheries organizations and 8 officials from the Indian side participated while 20 leaders of fisheries organizations and 10 officials participated from the Sri Lankan side.

Sri Lanka representatives included the leaders of the district fisheries organizations of Jaffna, Mannar, Mullativu, Kilinochchi Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Puttalam and also the leaders of the district fisheries organizations in the South.

The spokesman said now a high-powered joint ministerial committee of Sri Lanka and India will meet next month to discuss and reach a permanent solution to the nagging issue.

Rajapaksa said the joint committee has been appointed as a result of the talks held between Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne and his Indian counterpart Sharad Pawar in January this year in New Delhi.

** Related Story :: Sri Lanka, India joint investigating committee to resolve the fishing issue permanently

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