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    » 06/25/2012, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Sri Lanka: Fishermen of the north and south against the threat of Indian fishing vessels

    Melani Manel Perera

    Trawling destroys the ecosystem of the Indian ocean in the northern areas. But northern communities suffer from other problems: rudimentary equipment, prohibition of access to some of the bays, damage caused by civil war. The commitment of the Southern communities to help them.

    Vavuniya (AsiaNews) - Damage to the marine ecosystem caused by Indian fishing vessels Indians, bays closed to fishing by the government for "security reasons", a ban on spear fishing: these are just some of the problems facing the fishing community in northern Sri Lanka. To try to resolve them, according to Fr. Sherad Jayawardene, a Catholic priest and head of the All Ceylon Small Scale Fisher People's Trade Union, "the communities of North and South must form a common front" and "work together". The occasion to discuss this situation was a meeting between a group of Catholic priests and fishermen of the south and 25 members of the Northern Province Fisher People's Alliance (ANPFP), held on 23 June in Vavuniya (Northern Province).

    In Sri Lanka, the fishing communities of the north are the most disadvantaged. On the one hand, there are the Indian boats, which often go up to the limits of the Island's territorial waters and practice trawling, which is very damaging to the ecosystem and the fish. On the other hand, there is a technical problem: the fishermen of the south practice spearfishing, but those of the North are forbidden to use such equipment. This allows the former to catch a greater quantity of fish than the latter, and also risks exhausting the resources. Finally, the northern communities are still suffering from the damage provoked by almost 30 years of civil war, which has particularly affected the northern and eastern parts of the country.

    Aruna Rosantha, president of the All Ceylon Small Scale Fisher People's Trade Union, stresses the need "to establish a representative body," defending "the positions of the fishermen of the North" before the authorities.

    Herman Kumara, president of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), explains: "The issue of Indian fishing boats and all the difficulties faced by northern communities affect the peace and stability of the entire country. These people are paying for the destruction of years of conflict. Most of the work is up to us citizens in the South. Only we can commit ourselves to giving a decent life to these communities."

     

     

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    See also

    24/09/2009 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lankan fishermen imprisoned in India since 6 months
    The Indian government detains 9 boats and its crew who have been accused of violating the Indian territorial waters. Their families complain about the inaction on behalf of the government of Colombo. Some even sustain that they have paid a bail of 5 thousand rupees for their liberation that never took place.

    12/03/2014 SRI LANKA
    Colombo, fresh round of talks to regulate fishing between India and Sri Lanka
    Some Sri Lankan groups accuse the government of ignoring the fishermen from the north of the country. Territorial encroachments explosive regional issue: Indians engaged in trawling, which damages the ecosystem and the livelihoods of local populations.

    02/11/2010 SRI LANKA
    Catholic priests support fishermen's protest against seaplanes
    During Mass celebrated for the annual feast of St. Jude, thousands of fishermen protested against the government SeaPlane plan, which provides for the landing of flying boats in the lagoon. The project, which is part of a program for the development of tourism in Sri Lanka, puts at risk the livelihood of the families of the villages around the Negombo lagoon, not taking into account the severe environmental impact that it would cause.

    21/06/2012 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lanka, a father commits suicide because he cannot support his family
    Jesumaria Kingsley, a 40 year-old Catholic fisherman, lost a leg during protests against rising petrol prices. Sebastian, 14, left school to help his mother and siblings. Tried by the situation, the man decided to hang himself. An activist for the rights of fishermen: "We are all responsible for his death."

    24/11/2006 SRI LANKA
    Fisher folk suffer due to war, post-tsunami, globalization

    Fisher folk held rallies and gatherings to mark World Fisheries Day, in a bid to drawn attention to their plight, affected by many of the country's problems. After the tsunami, the government built big hotels but did not alleviate the misery of fishing communities, and big fisheries are now poaching their work.





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