Welcoming the move of the Sri Lankan government allowing 250 Tamil Nadu fishermen to trawl in theirs waters on predetermined days, P Jesuraj, Ramanathapuram district secretary of Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association, said that though Lanka claims that 3,000 Tamil Nadu fishermen enter their waters and destroy the marine resources, only 200-300 boats from the State cross the IMBL in a day.
Meanwhile, fishermen representatives from Tiruchy said that the numbers are too low for the six coastal districts to accept and share. Pointing out that the plan, if implemented, would create a lot of confusion among the fishermen community, they hoped that the Sri Lankan government would revise the numbers of permissible fishing trawlers to at least 250 per district in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast, extending from Karaikal to Ramanathapuram districts.
Speaking to Express, U Arulanandam, president of Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said, “At present, less than 100 fishing trawlers from entire Tamil Nadu coast sail past the International Maritime Boundary Line to fish in Sri Lankan waters. Previously, the number was at 1,500 trawlers per day, but it plunged due to the frequent arrests by the Lankan Navy. Though we are pushed to the wall to accept the restrictions laid by the Sri Lankan government, permitting just 250 trawlers for the six coastal districts is highly insufficient.”
The fishermen representatives noted that there were about 1,500 fishing trawlers in total spread across three coastal districts – Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai, and Ramanathapuram – and it would help the fishermen if the Sri Lankan government permitted at least 500 trawlers per day in their waters to engage in fishing.
Meanwhile, R Nathan (29), a fisherman from Rameswaram, said, “We venture into the sea thrice a week. Even if they allow us to enter at least two days, it would be benefit us.”
(The New Indian Express)