COLOMBO: Seven Tamil Nadu fishermen from Kottaipattinam in Pudukkottai district were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy off Delft Island early on Tuesday as they were poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the Sri Lankan navy spokesman Capt.Akram Alavi said.
The fishermen and their two boats have been handed over to the Department of Fisheries in Jaffna. The arrested fishermen will be produced before a court.
Asked about the threat to impose a fine of LKR 150 million (INR 7 crore) on intruding fishermen, an official told Express that there is no rule or law as yet to slap that kind of fine. But the Sri Lankan government is working on a law to impose a “heavy fine” on fishermen who poach in Sri Lankan waters. The threat to impose a fine of LKR 150 million was made orally some time ago by the Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. According to the Sri Lankan Fisheries Ministry, the island nation loses SLR. 9 billion (US$ 60.2 million) a year because of poaching by Tamil Nadu fishermen.
So far, the Sri Lankan government has been arresting and jailing intruding Tamil Nadu fishermen and impounding their boats. While they release the fishermen when the Tamil Nadu and Indian governments ask for it, the boats are not released. As of now, there are 152 Indian boats in Sri Lankan custody.