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18 Indian fishermen arrested for alleged illegal fishing in Sri Lanka

Last week, four Indian fishermen were arrested and their trawler seized by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the island nation’s waters.
Last Updated : 23 June 2024, 10:30 IST

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Colombo: As many as 18 Indian fishermen were arrested for alleged illegal fishing in the island nation’s waters by the Sri Lankan Navy and three fishing vessels were seized, a media report said on Sunday.

The fishermen were arrested from the North Sea near Delft Islands during a search operation conducted Saturday night, news portal The News First reported.

Navy spokesperson Capt Gayan Wickramasuriya said the arrested fishermen would be taken to Kankesanturai fishing harbour for further legal proceedings.

Last week, four Indian fishermen were arrested and their trawler seized by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the island nation’s waters.

Before the latest incident, more than 180 Indian fishermen had been arrested and 25 of their trawlers seized in 2024 for alleged illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters, Sri Lankan officials said.

The numbers are almost 75 per cent of the approximate 240-245 held similarly in 2023.

Most of these incidents happen in the Palk Strait, a narrow strip of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka’s northern tip, a rich fishing ground for fishermen from both countries.

The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with the Sri Lanka Navy personnel sometimes even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats for illegally entering Sri Lanka's territorial waters.

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Published 23 June 2024, 10:30 IST

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