Fishermen allege Lankan Navy 'damaged' catch, equipment

Fishermen allege Lankan Navy 'damaged' catch, equipment

Fish catch and equipment worth lakhs of rupees were damaged, the fishermen alleged. (DH File Photo. For representation purpose)

Indian fishermen returning here on-board over 100 boats were intercepted and their fish catch and equipment were "damaged" by Sri Lankan Naval personnel near Katchatheevu Sunday, a fishermen's organisation alleged.

The Lankan naval personnel, wielding guns, threatened the fishermen of arrest if they ventured into the area and asked them to leave, Rameswaram Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association leader S Emerit claimed.

Talking to reporters here, he said the fishermen had put out to sea in around 250 boats Saturday morning and were returning here after fishing in the area between Katchatheevu and Dhanushkodi, near here, when they came under the attack.

Fish catch and equipment worth lakhs of rupees were damaged, he alleged.

Emerit said the central and Tamil Nadu governments should holds talks with Sri Lanka and ensure a permanent solution to the problems faced by fishermen from the state in mid-sea in Pali Strait and protect their traditional livelihood.

Meanwhile, police said 200 kg of sea cucumber, meant to be smuggled to Sri Lanka, was seized from a mechanised boat nearby Mandapam.

The seizure was made by marine police following a tip-off, they said, adding the smugglers jumped into the sea and escaped on seeing the approaching police personnel.

The boat has also been impounded and further investigation was on, police added.

Sea cucumbers, classified as endangered species and their harvest banned under the Wildlife Protection Act, are in demand in South-East Asian countries.