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Colombo, fresh round of talks to regulate fishing between India and Sri Lanka
by Melani Manel Perera
Some Sri Lankan groups accuse the government of ignoring the fishermen from the north of the country. Territorial encroachments explosive regional issue: Indians engaged in trawling, which damages the ecosystem and the livelihoods of local populations.
Colombo (AsiaNews ) - The second round of talks between Sri Lanka and India on territorial encroachments in fishing get underway tomorrow in Colombo. The issue has been at the centre of heated debate for years. However, some Sri Lankan associations criticize their government for failing to involve the fishermen of the north of the country, who are in fact the most affected given that they are closer to Indian shores. "The authorities must find a way - say these organizations - to ban all foreign vessels from the waters, so as not to destroy our marine ecosystem".
Manel Lucia Kulas, a fisherwoman from Mannar, told AsiaNews: "In the past we earned a good living, but with the incursions of the Indian vessels now we can not even send our children to school. How can we survive if our husbands spend 1000 rupees on gasoline, but earn just 100 rupees a day of fishing?".
For over 10 years New Delhi and Colombo have been discussing ongoing trespassing of fishermen. In recent years, India and Sri Lanka have imprisoned each other's crews several times for having invaded territorial waters. On 15 January there was a first meeting between the two countries, in which they both agreed to release the fishermen who were still detained. However, the problem of controlling maritime traffic between southern India and northern Sri Lanka remains unresolved.
According to some, fish stocks in the Indian territory have been exhausted and this has pushed the fishermen to go beyond the limit of their territorial waters. On the other hand they use trawling, which is destroying the Sri Lankan waters and seriously damaging the livelihoods of local communities.
(Source by: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Colombo,-fresh-round-of-talks-to-regulate-fishing-between-India-and-Sri-Lanka-30543.html )