Sri Lanka arrests 12 Indian fishermen
Colombo, Dec 21 (IANS) The Sri Lanka Navy assisted the Coast Guard to arrest 12 Indian fishermen poaching in the northern seas of the island country, the navy said on Wednesday.
Two Indian fishing trawlers were seized, Xinhua news agency reported.
The fishermen and the trawlers were brought to the northern town of Mannar and handed over to the Department of Fisheries for further action.
Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said there had been a 50 per cent drop in poaching by Indian trawlers in Sri Lankan waters due to enhanced patrolling by the navy and Coast Guard.
The minister said all boats seized before last year were returned to India.
He said while the fishermen were released on humanitarian grounds, Sri Lanka will continue to arrest any Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka and India will hold more talks to seek a solution to the long-standing disputes between fishermen, he said.
The Indian foreign minister and fisheries minister were expected to attend the talks in Colombo on January 2, 2017.