Coast Guard's fresh advisory on fishermen straying into Pak waters

Indian Coast Guard has issued a fresh advisory to the Gujarat government asking it to warn them not to stray into the "no-fishing" zone.

PTI| Updated: Oct 25, 2015, 12:54 PM IST

New Delhi: With two incidents in a month of Indian fishermen being attacked after venturing into Pakistani waters, the Indian Coast Guard has issued a fresh advisory to the Gujarat government asking it to warn them not to stray into the "no-fishing" zone.

The advisory comes against the backdrop of a 40-year-old fisherman venturing 10 nautical miles into the Pakistani waters and being shot dead on September 18. On October 15, another fisherman was injured when his boat was in Pakistani waters. The injured fisherman, identified as Dhanji Bamaniya, was let off on humanitarian grounds along with five others who sailed back to Jakhau coast. Pakistan's Maritime Security Agency (MSA) also arrested 24 fishermen the same day.

Authorities have now warned the fishermen against not only crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), but also not to fish in "no-fishing" zone, failing which their documents would be forfeited.

"We have informed the Fisheries Department of Gujarat government about this. On our part we can only seize their documents and hand it over to the state authorities," a Coast Guard official said.

There have been several instances of Indian fishermen venturing into Pakistani maritime boundary and vice-versa. As per the figures till October 20, some 790 fishing boats have been seized by Pakistan's MSA. This year alone, around 205 fishermen were arrested and 35 boats serized by the MSA for venturing into Pakistani waters.

An Indian delegation will visit Pakistan to inspect 22 Indian boats seized by the neighbouring country and discuss modalities for their release. Coast Guard sources said Pakistani authorities keep releasing fishermen, but not the boats.

The delegation will comprise two representatives of boat owners, two mechanics, an official of Gujarat fisheries department and a member from state fishermen's association. Some repairs will be required before the 22 boats can be brought back to Gujarat.