SLA fishing ban despite Colombo promise

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 June 2002, 14:28 GMT]
A Sri Lanka army imposed ban on fishing in the southeastern parts of the Jaffna lagoon has driven hundred and ninety fishing families to destitution, a spokesman for the Federation of Northern Province Fisheries Co-op Societies said Saturday. None of the families receive relief from the Sri Lankan government, the spokesman said. Colombo promised to remove restrictions on fishing in the northeast ninety days after signing the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers in February this year.

The SLA seized ninety fishing boats from the fishermen on the lagoon coast southeast of Jaffna town in December 2000. The families fled their villages during SLA operations in the area at the time. They took up temporary residence in Kaithady, Navatkuly and Kovilaakandy east of Jaffna town.

On 15 October 2001 the families wrote to the Ministry of Fisheries in Colombo seeking compensation and relief. They haven't received a reply so far. "The attitude of government officials in Jaffna who should look into our predicament not helpful either", a spokesman for the families told TamilNet.

Fishing boats at the Kallundai beach fenced off with concertina by the SLA near Jaffna town. The Pannai Telecom tower in Jaffna town is in the background. Please click on the image to view larger photo
(Photo:TamilNet)


"We eke out a living now by chopping firewood and working as labourers in nearby villages. But firewood is scarce these days and there are many displaced persons from other parts of Jaffna competing with us in finding wage labour", he said.

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The office of the northern province federation of fisheries societies on Main Street in Jaffna town and an SLA bunker by the Kallundaai shoreline.


The Sri Lanka army continues to fortify its defences along the Jaffna lagoon and peninsula's seacoast between Thondamanar and Nagar Kovil.

Beaches frequented by fishermen in these parts are fenced off from the shoreline with rolls military concertina. Fishermen were allowed access to the sea and the lagoon through designated points upon producing special identity cards cum permits issues by the SLA and Sri Lanka Navy.

The remains of a bunker and the fence on the Thumpalai beach, near Pt. Pedro town. Please click on the images to view larger photos.(Photo:TamilNet)


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