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India, Sri Lanka holds fifth working group meeting on fisheries

By Dinkle Popli -- March 27, 2022 6:09 pm -- Updated:March 27, 2022 6:09 pm

New Delhi, March 27: The fifth meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries was held on March 25 through virtual mode, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said on Sunday.
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The Indian delegation was led by Jatindra Nath Swain, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The other members of the Indian delegation included senior representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of Puducherry, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

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The Sri Lankan delegation was led by R.M.I. Rathnayake, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, Government of Sri Lanka. The other members of the Sri Lankan delegation comprised of senior officials from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Navy, Coast Guard, Sri Lanka Police, Department of the Attorney General and National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency.

The Joint Working Group discussed all relevant issues in detail including the concerns relating to fishermen and fishing boats which have been on the agenda of bilateral discussions between India and Sri Lanka for many years.

Jatindra Nath Swain observed that the Indian side is always committed to work constructively with the Sri Lankan side towards the resolution of issues related to fishermen and their livelihoods in a humanitarian manner. He also took up the issue of the early release of Indian fishermen and boats currently in Sri Lankan custody.

The Indian side expressed its readiness to work together with Sri Lanka for joint research to enhance the productivity of the Palk Bay fisheries.

Both sides also discussed cooperation between Navy and Coast Guard of both countries in patrolling, existing hotline between the Coast Guards and related operational matters including cooperation in tracking poaching, prevention of environmental damage due to bottom trawling, addressing grievances of fishermen on either side, besides issues relating to investigation on recent deaths of fishermen and status of apprehended fishermen and fishing boats.

The Indian side highlighted the initiatives taken by the Central and State Governments to diversify livelihood options and reduce fishing pressure in Palk Bay. It also informed that infrastructure has been created to facilitate deep-sea fishing and promotion of alternative livelihood through seaweed cultivation, mariculture and several aquaculture activities.

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-PTC News

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