Oct 05, Kochi: The Indian Coast Guard has seized a Sri Lankan fishing boat and detained six fishermen for crossing the international maritime border and fishing in India's Exclusive Economic Zone.
Coast Guard Ship ICGS Samar apprehended the Sri Lankan fishing boat around 170 nautical miles (306 km) west of Agatti in Lakshadweep on October 1 and brought to Kochi harbor on Friday, New Indian Express reported.
The boat and two fishermen have been handed over to Kochi coastal police on Thursday.
A joint team of investigators from the state and Central agencies are interrogating the crew. The other four fishermen are in the custody of Cost Guard and they will be brought to Kochi on Saturday.
According to a Coast Guard release, the ICGS Samar has spotted the boat during a routine EEZ surveillance On October 1 in Indian waters off Agatti. Despite rough weather conditions, the ship apprehended the boat and checked for violation of Maritime Regulations of India. Around 600 kg of fish catch was found on board, the Coast Guard said.
According to the information provided by the Sri Lankan fishermen, they had set out for fishing on September 20.
A case has been registered for violation of Maritime Zones of India Act (1976), said Coastal Police inspector Crispin Sam.
However, fishermen union leaders urged the authorities to adopt a humanitarian approach and leave the fishermen as it is an issue related to their livelihood.
"Indian fishermen also face such problems. Our deep sea fishing boats reach up to the coast of Diego Garcia and Oman. The real intruders are Chinese fishing vessels operating from Sri Lanka's Dikowita harbor. These vessels scour the Indian waters and follow destructive fishing practices which has led to depletion of fish stocks in Indian waters. These boats track the tuna fish shoals following its migratory path and catch them before reaching Indian coast," said Matsya Thozhilali Aikyavedi president Charles George.
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