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15 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly poaching in Sri Lanka's territorial waters

Last month, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 22 Indian fishermen belonging to the state of Tamil Nadu for illegal poaching.
Last Updated : 09 July 2023, 10:09 IST
Last Updated : 09 July 2023, 10:09 IST

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The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 15 Indian fishermen on board two trawlers for allegedly poaching in the country’s territorial waters, according to an official statement on Sunday.

“The Sri Lanka Navy and coast guard conducted a special operation to chase away Indian trawlers engaged in illegal fishing in Sri Lanka on the night of July 8," the Sri Lanka Navy said in a statement.

The operation off the Delft Island in Jaffna led to the arrest of 15 Indian nationals, it said.

The seized trawlers along with the arrested fishermen were brought to the Kankesanthurai Harbour and handed over to the Mailadi Fisheries Inspector for onward legal proceedings, it said.

Last month, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 22 Indian fishermen belonging to the state of Tamil Nadu for illegal poaching.

So far in 2023, Sri Lanka Navy has seized 12 Indian poaching trawlers and arrested 74 Indian fishermen in island waters this year and handed them over to authorities for legal action, the statement added.

The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with the Lankan Navy personnel even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats in several alleged incidents of illegally entering Sri Lankan’s territorial waters.

The Palk Strait, which is a narrow strip of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, is a rich fishing ground for fishermen from both countries.

There have been periodic instances of Indian fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.

Illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen has been a recurrent problem despite many high-level talks held between the two sides.

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Published 09 July 2023, 10:09 IST

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