May 30, Colombo: Sri Lankan fishermen today launched a petition signing campaign to demand an end to the poaching by the Indian fishermen and urge the government to allow them fishing rights to practice their livelihoods.
The National Movement for Cooperation among Fishermen and the National Fisheries Action Committee organized the petition signing campaign in front of the Fort Railway Station in Colombo to collect signatures form the public.
The campaigners demanded the government to resettle people displaced by the war and allow them to resume their fishing activities and release their lands occupied by the Navy and other security forces. The fishermen also called on the government to provide more subsidies on fuel.
Among other issues, the fishermen also demanded an end to the poaching by the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters as the Indian fishermen resumed their fishing activities today after a 45-day ban on fishing in Palk Bay.
The second round of talks held on May 12 between the Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen failed without reaching an agreement as the Sri Lankan ide vehemently refused a request by the Indian side to fish in Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lankan fishermen totally opposed to allow the Indian practice of bottom trawling in Sri Lankan seas. Indian fishermen said it will take three years for them to discontinue bottom trawling, a practice that depletes the fishing resources and damages the seabed.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to address the nagging issue, when they met Tuesday in New Delhi. The two leaders agreed that a long-term solution is needed as it is a livelihood issue and the talks should continue in this regard.