At least 12 Indian fishermen were arrested and their two trawlers seized by Sri Lankan Navy in the early hours of Wednesday for allegedly poaching in the country’s territorial waters, a day after seven others were detained on similar charges. The fishermen, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were arrested south of Talaimannar in the north.
They have been handed over to the fishing inspectorate in Mannar and their two trawlers have also been seized, the Navy said.
Indian fisheries department officials said three groups of fishermen from Pamban near Rameswaram were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel for fishing off Talaimannar and were detained at the police station there.
20 fishers who had set out for fishing from Pamban in two mechanised boats and a country boat were rounded up by the Lankan authorities while they were fishing in the south sea using the banned fishing nets, Rameswaram Fisheries Department Assistant Director Gopinath said.
While fishermen in one of the boats managed to get away in their boat, 12 others were caught and taken to Sri Talaimannar, Lanka, he said.
Today’s arrest comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam asked the Centre to send a “firm message” to the island nation over continued apprehension of the state’s fishermen.
The incident also comes a day after seven persons from Pudukottai district were detained for allegedly fishing in their waters and taken to Kangesanthurai Port, along with their boats.
On Monday, Lankan fisheries minister Mahinda Amaraweera had said that there has been a 50 per cent drop in recent times in ‘poaching’ by Indian trawlers in Sri Lankan waters due to enhanced patrolling by the Navy and coast guard.