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Indo-Sri+Lanka+discussions+successful%3B+Bottom+trawling+method+will+be+stopped
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 - 7:40
Indo-Sri Lanka discussions successful; Bottom trawling method will be stopped
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Ministerial level talks concerning issues with illegal fishing were held in Colombo yesterday between representatives from Sri Lanka and India.

India’s Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan met with Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera.

The talks were a follow up from the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on fisheries that was held in New Delhi on 31st December 2016.

The Ministers exchanged views on possible mechanisms that would end illegal fishing.

Both sides agreed to a set of Standard Operating Procedures to expedite the release and handing over of fishermen in custody on completion of respective legal and procedural formalities.

The immediate release of the fishermen presently in custody was announced following the ministerial level talks.

As part of the Confidence Building Measures agreed to by both sides, it was decided to intensify cooperation on patrolling and to institute periodic interaction between the Coast Guards from both countries.

An understanding was reached to ensure that no physical harm or loss of life would occur during apprehension of fishermen by the Navy and Coast Guard of the two countries.

It was also agreed that possibility of introducing effective tracking systems and the use of onboard communication equipment be explored.

The Ministers appreciated JWG’s efforts in operating the "Hotline" between the Indian and Sri Lankan Coast Guard, which would hasten decision making and response times.

Both sides discussed the issue of releasing fishing vessels in each other's custody.

India requested for the immediate release of Indian fishing vessels.

Sri Lanka agreed to consider the request in view of the progress being made by the JWG.

Sri Lanka reiterated that it was imperative that the practice of bottom trawling needs to end in the near future.

India did give their assurance that  bottom trawling would be phased out in a graded time-bound manner , keeping in mind that there are fishermen who have make the transition into deep sea fishing as well as other coastal fisheries activities including mari-culture, pearl farming and seaweed culture.

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