Date of Releasing Fishermen to be decided at Jan 15 Meet - The New Indian Express

Date of Releasing Fishermen to be decided at Jan 15 Meet

Published: 13th January 2014 10:25 AM

Last Updated: 13th January 2014 10:25 AM

The date for the reciprocal release for Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan fishermen from detention in Sri Lanka and India will be decided at the meeting between the Fisheries Ministers of Sri Lanka and India in New Delhi on January 15, the Lankan Minister of Fisheries Dr Rajitha Senaratne told Express here on Sunday.

The Fisheries Minister was commenting on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s announcement on Saturday that Colombo would take steps to release TN fishermen from Monday. Currently, there are 292 TN fishermen and 90 boats in Sri Lanka’s custody and about 209 Lankan fishermen and 46 boats in India’s custody. TN holds about 179 Lankan fishermen and 40 boats and Andhra Pradesh 30 fishermen and six boats.

About a month ago, the Indian and Lankan governments had agreed that there should be a reciprocal release and exchange of fishermen at the earliest, but the Tamil Nadu government was not cooperative, Senaratne said. However, after New Delhi and Colombo decided that they will fix a date for release at their meeting in New Delhi on January 15, the TN government felt the need to come out with an announcement first, Senaratne quipped.

There had been an agreement between some “self-appointed” fishermen’s representatives but that had no government approval, he clarified. Senaratne further said that there is no change in Lanka’s stand that the IMBL must not be crossed. 

Meanwhile, the Lankan Director General of Fisheries, Nimal Hettiarachchi, said that the government’s decision not to give back the boats “has not had a significant impact” on poaching.

According to Jaffna University geographer Dr A S Soosai, the TN fishermen’s annual catch of shrimp in Lankan waters is 65,102.400 kg which is worth $59.18 million.

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