Fishing ban worsens fishermen's woes
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 March 1999, 22:08 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) at Kilaly told more than 300 fishing familes in the area yesterday to ply their trade in the deep seas off Naakar Kovil in Vadamaradchi east. The fishermen in Kilaly were banned from fishing in the Jaffna lagoon off the Thenmaradchi coast last month.
They sought the permission of the SLA at Kilaly yesterday to begin fishing in the lagoon again as their families were unable to secure adequate relief from the concerned government agencies in Jaffna.
The army, however, refused to let them fish in the lagoon again and told them to obtain special passes to fish in the sea off Naakar Kovil which is under its control.
The Kilaly fishermen say that they have to travel more than 18 kilometers to the coast in Naakar kovil and that, very importantly, they do not have the gear to fish in the deep seas.
They said that traditionally they have engaged only in shallow water fishing in the Jaffna lagoon off the coast of Thenmaradchi, and hence do not have the wherewithal to fish in the ocean.
The SLA has now instructed them to obtain forms from the Citizens' Committee office at Palai to apply for the special passes required for fishing in the seas off Naakar Kovil.