Navy seizes 02 Indian fishing vessels whilst poaching in Sri Lankan waters
A special operation conducted by the Navy in seas east of Point Pedro and Vettilaikeni on 13th October 2021 led to seizure of 02 Indian fishing vessels poaching in Sri Lankan waters, with 23 Indian fishers aboard.
Taking into account the impact of foreign fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters on the local fishing community and the sustainability of fishery resources of Sri Lanka, the Navy is conducting regular patrols as well as operations to curb illegal fishing activities in island waters.
In this special operation, Fast Attack Craft of the 04th Fast Attack Craft Flotilla (4 FAF) and Inshore Patrol Craft attached to the Northern Naval Command took hold of 02 Indian fishing vessels along with 23 Indian fishers aboard, for poaching in Sri Lankan waters east of Point Pedro and Vettilaikeni on 13th October.
The operation also led to the seizure of fishing gear from those vessels, used for the illegal fishing practice known as ‘bottom trawling’, and a stock of fish caught by the same fishing method.
The operation was conducted adhering to COVID-19 protocols to prevent possible transmission of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the 02 fishing vessels and 23 Indian fishers held in this operation have been detained in naval custody until they are handed over to relevant authorities for onward legal action.
Last time, the Navy seized 05 fishing vessels and 54 Indian nationals for poaching in Sri Lankan waters on 24th March 2021. However with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy limited seizure of foreign fishing vessels and continued to repatriate them to their home waters.
Further, Sri Lanka Navy will continue to carry out regular patrols in Sri Lankan waters adhering to COVID-19 protocols, to prevent illegal fishing practices and other illegal acts by foreign fishermen, with a view to protect the fishery resources claimed by Sri Lanka and secure the livelihood of local fishermen.