SLA, SLN said promoting fishing by Sinhalese in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 May 2002, 17:39 GMT]
The Federation of fisheries co-operative societies of Vadamaradchi complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Jaffna Friday that the Sri Lankan armed forces are backing Sinhala fishermen to engage in deep sea fishing off the coast of the northern peninsula while hindering local fishermen from plying their trade freely.

"The Sri Lanka army and the Sri Lanka Navy do not permit us to engage in fishing in the Vadamaradchi sea freely. This injustice should not be allowed to continue," states a memorandum handed over to the SLMM Friday by the Federation of fisheries co-operative societies of the Vadamaradchi Division of Jaffna.

According to the federation sources, about ten trawlers from the southern and western coasts of Sri Lanka are anchored in the seas off Vadamaradchi and are engaged in deep sea fishing. The Sinhala fishermen bring their catch to the shore and sell it to fish vendors in Vadamaradchi much to the detriment of the local fishing community driven to destitution by more than a decade of restrictions and bans, the sources said.

Meanwhile fishermen of Pashaiyoor who fish in Jaffna lagoon Friday lodged a complaint with the SLMM that they are subjected to severe body search before they set out to sea and on return. The security forces order them to produce their national identity cards and the special identity cards issued to those who fish in the Jaffna lagoon. The army minutely examines the catch they bring to the shore, the complaint further states.

The Pashaiyoor fishermen state that the ceasefire agreement between the government and the Liberation Tigers has not brought them any relief in plying their trade but has given rise to more restrictions on their freedom of movement.


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