07/24/2009, 00.00
SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka, fishermen win the war: invasive techniques banned

by Melani Manel Perera
The Supreme Court declares fishing with dynamite and various types of nets outlawed. Success for fishermen and activists who have defended their rights, against the multinationals of the fisheries sector. It will also allow for better management of resources and marine life.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – In a battle that has lasted years, finally the small fishermen of  Sri Lanka have won their war: the National Supreme Court has banned certain types of fishing nets and other methods that have a devastating impact on marine flora, accepting a legal action initiated by trade associations and human rights activists.

On July 21 last the Sinhalese judges put an end to the dispute, stating that "the Attorney General shall immediately initiate legal action” against fishing with certain types of nets or other means, including traps and explosives “banned because destructive”.  

The National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) and its sister organization Southern Fisheries Organization (SFO) launched the battle of small fishermen, with the assistance of Kalyananda Thiranagam from Lawyers for Human Rights and Development in Sri Lanka (LHRD).  

The ban states that explosives such as dynamite can no longer be used, as well as various types of fishing nets. Herman Kumara, NAFSO President and Secretary General of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) defines the ruling “a great victory for the traditional fishermen”. He explains that the courts decision will allow  “support for the economy of small-scale fishermen”, threatened by “large the multinational fishing industry”, as well as conserve resources and prevent excessive exploitation, which leads to a “collapse [of the industry]in the long term”.

The SFO Secretary adds that “80% of the traditional fishermen in the southern provinces will benefit from the law" as will the environment. India, Pakistan and other nations in the region congratulated NAFSO, stressing that "this victory is beneficial not only for fishermen in Sri Lanka, but it is a victory for traditional fishermen world over”.

 

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