Naval operations lead to apprehension of persons engaged in illegal fishing

Naval operations conducted in the Eastern, North Central, Northern and Northwestern Naval Commands in the past week had led to the apprehension of persons along with a number of fishing gear, for engaging in illegal fishing.

Accordingly, the Eastern Naval Command had apprehended 09 persons who engaged in illegal fishing without valid licence and using unauthorized fishing nets, during search operations conducted in the sea areas off the Round Island and Coconut Point in Trincomalee as well as in the lagoon of Kaththankudi. Meanwhile, the North Central Naval Command, during a search in the sea area off the Talaimannar Lighthouse, nabbed 10 persons along with 02 dinghies, for engaging in fishing using banned fishing nets and without valid passes. Apart from that, another search carried out in Erukkulampiddi led to the apprehension of a suspect who had stored over 724kg of dried sea cucumber, exceeding the accepted limit.

In another operation, the Northern Naval Command collared 03 persons engaged in illegal diving activities in the sea area off Talayaddi and seized 01 dinghy, 13 illegally harvested sea cucumbers and several fishing gear owned by the suspects. Moreover, 03 persons and 02 dinghies were held by the Northwestern Naval Command for engaging in the illegal fishing practice of trawling at Soththupitiya Fishing Point. Along with the suspects over 59kg of illegally caught fish were also seized by the Navy.

The accused engaged in these illegal acts have been identified as residents of Kinniya, Talaimannar, Mannar and Thalawila areas, from 21 to 52 years of age. The apprehended persons and their belongings were handed over to the Assistant Directors of Fisheries of Batticaloa and Mannar and Fisheries Inspectors of Point Pedro and Kalpitiya for onward investigations.