Sri Lankan leader for fishermen talks

The fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka has a better chance of resolution if left to the fisherfolk on both sides, said R. Sampanthan, Leader of the Opposition in Sri Lankan Parliament, on Wednesday. He said the governments should ensure an end to bottom trawling while leaving the issues of daily importance to the fishermen.

“There is no space for violence in dealing with the fishermen’s issue between the two countries. As far as India is concerned, it must ensure that bottom trawling is stopped as this has devastated Sri Lankan fishing communities, and fishermen on both sides should hold dialogue to resolve territorial and fishing issues of daily significance,” Mr. Sampanthan, Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said in a chat with The Hindu .

Trawling Bill

Mr. Sampanthan’s comments about the bottom trawling comes in the backdrop of his party’s push to ban the bottom trawlers from the waters around Sri Lanka which will be introduced in the Colombo’s Parliament on March 17.

 The Bill which was introduced by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran has now become a government Bill in the Sri Lankan Parliament. Various provinces of the country have given their consent to the Bill which is likely to be adopted by the end of the month.

“Fishing is an issue of livelihood and issues related to this should be left to the fishermen on both sides. The governments has a role in enforcing rules that will help in ensuring sustainable fishing practices,” Mr. Sampanthan said on the sidelines of a conference on counter-terrorism that was held in Delhi.

Sri Lanka also has hundreds of bottom trawlers, especially in the Northern Province, that will be banned once Bill is passed. The issue is at the centre of political controversy in Sri Lanka as it is believed that banning the practice will increase pressure on India to do the same.

Source:

www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/put-an-end-to-bottom-trawling/article17469451.ece