The Jaffna Fisheries Association last week reiterated that any agreement with regard to the fishing issue between both countries needed to be reached between the governments of Sri Lanka and India or the relevant law enforcement authorities.

During his visit to India recently, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed that the issue should be solved through discussions between the fisheries associations of both countries.

However, Secretary, Jaffna Fisheries Association, K. Rajachandran told The Nation that the matter should be discussed by the governments, or the naval officers of both countries. “There is nothing we can discuss and solve. It is the navy which has to ensure that the Indian fishermen do not encroach into our waters and indulge in illegal fishing. Therefore, our stand is that the discussions should be carried out at a higher level,” Rajachandran said.

The fisheries associations of Jaffna on Thursday (24) conducted a protest in the peninsula, calling on the government to recommence discussions and expedite the process of finding a suitable solution.

In addition, the fisheries associations are likely to meet Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera next week to hold discussions with regard to this matter.

When contacted, Navy Spokesman Commander Indika Silva stated the Navy aided the Sri Lanka Coast Guard to arrest 21 Indian fishermen last week in two separate incidents. Fifteen Indian fishermen along with two fishing trawlers were taken into custody off the coast of Point Pedro on  September 21 while six others were taken into custody along with two other fishing trawlers off the coast off Kovilan Point on September 23.