ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Conflict over Fishing in the Palk Bay

A humanitarian and cooperative approach is needed to resolve the confl ict over fishing in the Palk Bay.

Indian trawlers venturing across the maritime boundary line into Sri Lankan waters, the arrest of many Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy for crossing the line, the Government of Tamil Nadu protesting these actions – these have been part of a regular pattern of episodes over the past three years. Incidents involving the arrest and release of Sri Lankan fishermen on the Indian side of the maritime boundary line have also occurred during this period.

A meeting of the Palk Bay fisheries representatives of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu in the presence of Indian central and state government representatives took place in Chennai in January this year. The fishermen from Sri Lanka made a strong case for disallowing large-scale mechanised “trawler-based” fishing in their waters. This was in line with an agreement between the Indian and Sri Lankan fisheries’ representatives made in 2010, when the former agreed to non-trawler fishing only during certain days, thereby allowing the latter to use the zones during other days.

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