India arrests 14 Sri Lankan fishermen

A Sri Lankan minister Wednesday sought an end to poaching by foreign fishermen after 14 Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard off Tamil Nadu.

PTI| Last Updated: May 21, 2014, 20:49 PM IST

Chennai/Colombo: A Sri Lankan minister Wednesday sought an end to poaching by foreign fishermen after 14 Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard off Tamil Nadu.

The 14 fishermen have been handed over to the Tamil Nadu Police, a Coast Guard spokesman told IANS, after being caught Tuesday afternoon some 40 km inside Indian waters.

Their three boats and and some 1,000 kg of fish catch were also seized off Tuticorin.

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka`s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said Colombo could use "international mechanisms" to deal with foreign fishermen poaching in his country`s waters.

"We need to change how we are managing this issue and possibly reduce the time spent in discussions," Xinhua quoted him as saying.

The fishermen were arrested for violating the 45-day fishing ban in the eastern coastal zone of Tamil Nadu imposed for fish species` propagation as it is the fish breeding season.

Both countries released over 400 jailed fishermen in January ahead of talks to resolve the dispute over fishermen crossing into each other`s territorial waters.

During the talks, Sri Lanka refused a request from the Tamil Nadu fishermen to allow fishing in Sri Lankan waters for 70 days a year and to allow bottom trawling.

Talks between the two countries had ended in deadlock earlier this month. Negotiators are to meet again in June.

Sri Lanka has shied away from reporting poaching by Indians to international organisations fearing it would strain ties between Colombo and New Delhi.