Sri Lanka urges India to resolve fishing dispute

Colombo, Jan 2 (IANS) Sri Lanka on Monday urged India to resolve a long standing fishing dispute, authorities said.

India and Sri Lanka held ministerial level talks aimed at resolving a long standing fishing issue, Xinhua news agency reported.

India’s Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh met Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera in Colombo and exchanged views on possible mechanisms to help find a permanent solution to the fishermen issues.

Both sides agreed to a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to expedite the release and handing over of fishermen in each other’s custody on completion of legal and procedural formalities.

The immediate release of the fishermen presently in custody was announced following the ministerial level talks.

As part of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) agreed to by both sides, it was decided to intensify cooperation on patrolling and to institute periodic interaction between the Coast Guard of the two countries.

An understanding was reached to ensure that there was no physical harm or loss of life while apprehending fishermen by the Navy and Coast Guard of the two countries.

It was agreed to explore the possibility of introducing effective tracking systems for the fishing vessels and making the use of on-board communication equipment mandatory.

Both sides also discussed the issue of releasing fishing vessels in each other’s custody.

The Indian side requested for the immediate release of Indian fishing vessels.

The Sri Lankan side agreed to consider the request, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.