Ahead of the talks with their Indian counterpart later this month, Sri Lankan fishermen said on Thursday that poaching by Indian fishermen in their territorial waters was non-negotiable.
“We are willing to discuss all possibilities to resolve the fishermen issues, but at any time can’t accept Indian fishermen proposing for sharing the water rights. We believe both government from its level will ensure that justice is delivered to the affected Lanka fishermen,” said president of Sri Lanka’s umbrella federation of various fishermen associations, Naganathy Ponnabalam.
He and three other provincial Sri Lankan fishermen association heads were in the Capital, as part of the delegation of Lankan fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne.
The Sri Lankan fishermen leaders said that more than 1.2 lakh fishermen living in the northern and southern provinces have seen their livelihood collapse due to the poaching by Indian fishermen, who use damaging fishing techniques that wipes out shoals of fish. The majority of the fishermen are Sri Lankan Tamils.
“Post war too, we have faced serious hardships, and only in the recent years we have started rebuilding our livelihood by fishing into the seas. But shockingly, the Indian fishermen continue to fish in Lankan waters,” said A Sriskantharasan from Mullaitheevu.