Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is on a visit to New Delhi, met representatives of the Tamil Nadu Fishermen Federation in New Delhi on 5 July.
The Minister thanked the representatives of the Fishermen Federation for travelling to New Delhi to meet him and emphasised the importance of maintaining and enhancing people-to-people contact between the fishing communities in northern Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu in India to resolve problems of fishermen amicably and meaningfully.
The hour long fruitful discussion focused on all issues of concern to the northern Sri Lankan fishermen including measures that could be taken to address the problem of Indian fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), and prevent methods of fishing that are harmful to the marine eco system including fish stock.
The need to take decisions collectively to address livelihood issues and problems facing the fishing communities on both sides was emphasised. The Minister explained that the northern Sri Lankan fishermen have undergone tremendous hardship for over thirty years and that they require considerable assistance to upgrade methods of fishing. The Minister also explained that the northern Sri Lankan fishermen who are resuming their livelihood after almost three decades should be given the opportunity to fish in their own fishing grounds without hindrance.
The Fishermen Federation representatives conveyed their appreciation to Minister Basil Rajapaksa for sparing his time to meet them and engage in a frank and useful discussion. They expressed their desire to visit Sri Lanka to hold further discussions with the aim of arriving at practical solutions to issues that face the fishermen of both countries. The representatives of the Fishermen Federation conveyed their deep appreciation to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his constant and consistent sensitivity towards the concerns of fishermen of both countries, says the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India.