Sri Lanka agreed to release Indian fishing boats if never re-enter the territorial waters(Representative)
Sri Lanka today said it will release 42 Indian fishing boats held in its custody since 2015 on a condition that they will never re-enter the country's territorial waters.
Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said in a statement yesterday that the Indian government has been informed about this decision.
"They should never return to violate our International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)," Amaraweera said.
He said that Sri Lanka's earlier decision not to release the boats and equipments while releasing the fishermen had its desirous effect.
The Indian government has now banned bottom trawling. Amaraweera said the views of the local fishery organisations were also sought before making the decision to release the Indian boats.
He said the issue of poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka had gone on for over 35 years. Several governments from both the sides of Palk Straits had failed to resolve the sensitive issue.
On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for getting back 135 fishing boats of state fishermen impounded by Sri Lanka over a period of time, saying the fishers had been deprived of their livelihood.
Of the 135 boats, a total of 61 were apprehended in 2015, 53 in 2016 and 21 in 2017, the Chief Minister noted.