Sri Lanka Tuesday welcomed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s proposal to phase out bottom trawling by Indian fishermen and encourage tuna deep sea fishing. Jayalalithaa had urged the Central government to facilitate the system of long liners for tuna deep sea fishing, the Sri Lankan Fisheries Ministry said.
An official release said Lankan Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera is planning to send a letter to Jayalalithaa to thank her and support her stand. Amaraweera said that Jayalalithaa’s decision was in accordance with the accepted international norms on fishing. He said Lanka has been arresting Indian fishermen for allegedly poaching and carrying out destructive bottom trawling.
Around 129 Indian trawlers have been arrested and confiscated since 2015.
On June 14, Jayalalithaa had said diversification of bottom trawlers into deep sea tuna long liners would reduce the pressure of bottom-trawling boats in the Palk Bay. In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking Central assistance, she had said that it would cost Rs 975 crores over three years.
“This issue was discussed in a meeting convened by the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister in 2015 with the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu and the Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries,” she had said. Based on the discussions, she had sent a proposal to Centre for reduction of trawling pressure in the Palk Bay on May 12, 2015.
“As the main proposal is yet to be approved, my government has initiated a scheme at a cost of Rs 51.3 crores for the construction of new Tuna Long Liners and the construction of 171 Tuna Long Liners has commenced,” she had said.