July 26, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government taken measures to release 174 Indian fishing boats taken into custody since 2014, when fishermen from Tamil Nadu breach the International Maritime Boundary Line and poach in Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka Navy arrest the fishermen illegally fishing in the island's territorial waters and detain their trawlers. Although the fishermen are released by the courts, the boats are not released.
From 2014 to June, 2018, Sri Lanka Navy has taken 174 boats into custody.
According to an India Today report Most of the trawlers belong to fishermen from Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Karaikal, Tanjore and the fishermen have been demanding the release of the boats for a long time now.
Based on the order, 50 boats were released on Wednesday and 27 more boats are likely to be released on Thursday. By Saturday all boats need to be handed over to the Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry, the Attorney General of Sri Lanka has reportedly said.
Five trawler owners have been summoned to the Sri Lankan court for illegal fishing and crossing the international maritime Boundary Line. They will have to assemble as per the earlier order and the fate of their boats will be decided by the Sri Lankan court.
Under the new law Sri Lanka enacted in February this year, the owners of the trawlers must appear before the court. A foreign fishing craft illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters can be fined from Rs. 1.5 million up to Rs. 175 million maximum depending on the length of the vessel.