India-Sri Lanka Fishermen Issue
- Seven fishermen from Thangachimadam village near Rameswaram were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy at Neduntheevu on charges, including poaching.
- Fishermen from Sri Lanka and India have coexisted peacefully in each other’s waters for many years.
- The situation was altered when, between 1974 and 1976, India and Sri Lanka signed four maritime boundary agreements outlining their respective interpretations of the international maritime border between them.
- These agreements were designed to make resource management and law enforcement in the Palk Strait easier.
- Without consulting the state government of Tamil Nadu, the Indian government transferred the Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka through the agreements.
- Since that time, the island has only been “accessible” to Indian fishermen for resting, drying nets, and the annual St. Anthony’s festival—not for fishing.
What should be done?
- The Indian fishermen have been adopted to trawlers for fishing in the oceans which is not only harmful to the marine environment but also prohibited by the Sri Lankan authorities.
- India must forbid the use of fishing gear in Palk Bay that is forbidden in Sri Lanka.
- The Odisha coast, where the waters are very deep, is a place where trawlers can be used.
- India has the power to turn the Palk Bay from a contentious region into a shared treasure.
- Deep Sea Fishing Scheme is promoted as an alternative to bottom trawling by Tamil Nadu’s fishermen off the Palk Bay, the scheme envisages the provision of 2,000 deep sea fishing boats in place of trawlers by 2019-20, which will be the third and final year of implementation of the scheme.
Source The Hindu