Oct 17, Colombo: Measures have been taken to strengthen the stringent laws against Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera said.
He said this decision was taken at the ministerial level discussions held with the Indian Fisheries Minister Radha Manmohan Singh in New Delhi recently.
Indian fishermen's practice of using illegal fishing methods such as bottom trawling to catch fish in Sri Lankan territorial waters has caused severe harm for fish while damaging the marine system.
Measures has been taken to create awareness on this matter among authorities of the Indian government. However, Minister Amaraweera noted that the number of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters has been reduced by about 50 percent.
The government has already taken measures to devises stringent laws against the invading fishermen. The cabinet of ministers has approved Foreign Fishing Trawlers Draft Bill aimed at tackling this issue. After the enactment of this bill provisions will be provided to apprehend and detain fishermen entering into the island's waters as well imposing prison sentences and fines.
The two countries during their discussions have agreed on proposals aimed at releasing fishermen while in detention in the two countries and install VMS equipment to identify fishing trawlers.