By: Shalika Ranaweera
There are 50 Sri Lankan fishermen and nine boats in custody of the Andaman Island authorities while 51 fishermen and 10 boats are also in custody in other states in India, said Neomal Perera Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources yesterday.
Speaking to Daily Mirror the Deputy Minister said that it was hard to get fishermen held by authorities in the union territory of Andaman released as it is governed directly by the Central Government. “For others we do not have a problem,” he said.
There are five fishermen in the custody of Myanmar authorities and the Ministry has made all necessary arrangements to get them released, he said. Meanwhile there are 5 boats and 21 Indian fishermen in our custody as they have trespassed Sri Lankan waters, the Deputy Minister added.
“Our Ministry had spent more than 11 lakhs in the past year to obtain the release of fishermen who were in the custody of authorities in various countries, for trespassing into those countries,” the deputy minister said. As the government has given the duty free concessions for satellite communication equipment to be purchased, fishermen should be able to monitor their course and should refrain from entering the waters of other countries illegally, he warned.
However, the number of fishermen getting caught for illegally entering the waters’ of other countries has diminished this year when compared to the past,” he further said.