Not ready to negotiate with Indian counterparts – Northern fishers

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By Naalir Jamaldeen

Spokesman for the Northern Province Fishermen Cooperative Societies Union Federation, N.M. Aalam yesterday (31) claimed they are not ready to take part in any discussion with Indian fishermen.

Aalam says that despite protesting on several occasions, Indian fishermen continue to trespass in Sri Lankan waters.

“They continue to do so; poaching our aquatic resources and, the economic and living standards of local fishermen have been severely impacted as a result. 

“We took various efforts in this connection in the past but everything ended in failure. Despite the hope we kept on the newly elected Government that they would provide a better solution to resolve this issue, the Fisheries Ministry has not taken any productive measures in this connection so far,” he said. 

While addressing the media in Mannar, Aalam stated that two years have passed with no solution in sight. 

“We have learnt that the Government has held discussions with Indian fishermen. No matters related to this issue were discussed there. Indian fishermen say they would hold discussions with local fishermen to resolve this issue. However we are not ready to take part in any discussion with them.

“In addition, the shortage of fuel has severely impacted the fisheries industry as a whole. The fuel brought to the Northern Province must be distributed to fishermen equally and then this issue could be resolved by a considerable amount. We made a request to Mannar District Secretary during a discussion held with her in this connection,” Aalam added.