Sept 08 (NIE) Representatives of fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka are to meet here at the end of this month to thrash out long-standing issues of fishing in the seas between the two countries. The fishermen hope to meet the relevant Lankan and Indian authorities here. So far, the Indian High Commission has not been told about the visit.
S P Anthonymuthu, who is facilitating the meeting, told Express here on Friday that a team of fishermen from Rameswaram headed by T Devadas will be here to talk to Sri Lankan fishermen’s representatives and find ways to re-establish the ruptured relations between the fishing communities of Tamil Nadu and North Sri Lanka.
Explaining the issue from the point of view of the Lankan Tamil fishermen, Anthonymuthu said that the main issue was the intrusion of trawlers from Tamil Nadu and the destruction that they caused to marine life in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait.
The problem was not the intrusion of Tamil Nadu fishermen into Sri Lankan waters per se, but the trawling indulged in by some of them, he said. "But fortunately, only 20 per cent of the intruding vessels from Tamil Nadu are trawlers. I should also point out that there is a movement against trawling among Tamil Nadu fishermen themselves. Pamphlets criticising this destructive method of fishing had been distributed in the fishing villages there. Therefore, the problem caused by trawlers can be solved," Anthonymuthu said.
However, the main issue from the point of view of TN fishermen is the violence and harassment that they allegedly suffer at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy frequently. Trawlers as well as ordinary fishing boats have been targeted, it is said.