The Indian media has reported that an Indian official has offered to try and set up a meeting between members of the two fishing communities at the earliest in a fresh bid to end the row between the fishermen of Jaffna and Tamil Nadu over fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
According to media reports, President of the Federation of Fishermen’s Cooperatives of Jaffna, S Thavaratnam has said that the offer was made by V Mahalingam, the Indian Consul General in Jaffna, in a meeting last week.
India’s Express News Service has quoted Thavaratnam as saying “We explained the harm done to Jaffna’s aquatic resources and our livelihood by incessant bottom trawling by poachers from Tamil Nadu. We said that we were keen on resolving the issue through talks, but stressed the need to resolve the burning issue at the earliest, before it got out of control..”
He has said that Jaffna fishermen had no objection to Tamil Nadu fishermen fishing in Sri Lankan waters because, for generations, fishermen from the two areas had considered the sea between them to be a common heritage. What the Jaffna fishermen strongly objected to was the Tamil Nadu fishermen’s methods of fishing.
“While we have abandoned bottom trawling to preserve our resources, Tamil Nadu fishermen have not. After destroying the resources along their coast, they have turned their attention to our side.
Very soon we too will be left with nothing,” Thavaratnam has said.