COLOMBO: A bill seeking a total ban on the destructive fishing method known as “bottom trawling” was moved by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, in the Sri Lankan parliament on Wednesday.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the bill will be to sent to Lanka’s nine Provincial Councils for their comment.
Sumanthiran told Express on Thursday, that since fishing is a Central Subject as per the 13 th. Amendment of the Lankan constitution, there is no requirement that the consent of every Provincial Council be obtained for the bill, and therefore, the circulation of the bill among the Provincial Councils is not a major hurdle.
The Tamil MP is of the view that Lanka cannot stop Tamil Nadu and Puduchery fishermen from indulging in bottom trawling in the North Lankan seas when the practice is not banned in the island nation itself.
According to Gehan Gunatilleke of the Colombo-based Verite Research, there is opposition in Lanka itself to the imposition of a ban on bottom trawling. This is because Lankan fishermen (mainly from South Lanka) want to indulge in bottom trawling in the Northern seas once the Indian fishermen are driven away.
Therefore, Lanka’s larger and long term interest will be served only by imposing a total ban on bottom trawling, irrespective of the nationality of the trawler, Gunatilleke and Sumanthiran feel.
When the Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, met the TNA leaders here on February 6, the latter urged her to stop Indians from indulging in bottom trawling in the seas of Mannar and Jaffna. The Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran, was to press for this if Swaraj came to Jaffna, but she skipped Jaffna during her two day sojourn in Lanka between February 5 and 6.
12 TN Fishermen Held
Twelve Tamil Nadu fishermen and two trawlers were caught by Lankan the Coast Guard on Thursday for poaching near Thalaimannar, the Lankan Navy spokesman, Capt. Akram Alavi, said. The arrested fishermen will be handed over to the Fisheries Authorities at Thalaimannar later in the day for legal action.
Prior to the arrests on Thursday, there were 15 TN fishermen and 79 vessels in Lankan custody.