Feature Article

Overfishing by Sinhala intruders out of control, Tamil fishermen at the verge of anger

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 January 2017, 21:27 GMT]
While the number of families dependent on fishing in the five districts of Northern Province has sharply grown by 6,000 units within the five years since 2010, the coastal stretch dotted with fishing ‘paadu’s (sea beds falling within the scope of draw-nets of local fishermen) between Mullaiththeevu and Mukaththuvaaram have been drastically reduced due to the encroachment by intruding Sinhala fishermen from other provinces. According to the district-wise figures, there were 35,478 families, dependent on fishing as their livelihood in 2010. By November 2015, the figure had risen to 41,491 families due to resettlement and due to the lack of other income sources. The 19% growth of fishing families comes despite the most densely populated district in the North, the Jaffna district, registering the lowest population growth in the entire island.

The figures do not include the number of Sinhala colonisers. The exact number of Sinhala fishermen coming with permits issued by Colombo's Fisheries Ministry is being systematically avoided in the public records.

Earlier, Sinhala Navy of occupying Colombo was deployed in bringing in Sinhala fishermen from North-Western and Western Provinces into Kokku'laay, Naayaa'ru and Mukaththuvaaram of Karai-thu'raip-pattu division of Mullaiththeevu district while Colombo's Fisheries Ministry was issuing fishing permits amidst opposition from Tamil-speaking fishermen in Mullaiththeevu.

Now, occupying Sinhala Army is also actively deployed in defending the demographic and structural genocide against Eezham Tamils. One could spot at least one armed SL Army person in most of the boats in the seas off Mukaththuvaaram these days.

At least 1,2000 boats owned by Sinhala fishermen are operating in Naayaa'ru and Mukaththuvaaaram area. The native fishermen are unable to utilise their traditional fishing paadus as the intruding Sinhala fishermen fully exploit the fish stocks through illegal methods of fishing.

The legal system of genocidal Sri Lanka was of no use to local fishermen who have lodged cases in the court against the intrusion. Although the courts instructed the SL authorities to do the needful to protect the paadus of local fishermen through identifying the fishing-beds using GPS technology, there has been no action.

Meanwhile, the ‘technology’ of SL Navy and SL Army is being deployed to assist the Sinhala fishermen.

The fisheries society representatives in Karai-thu'raip-pattu also complain that SL authorities were exerting pressure on administrative officials to provide electricity supplies to intruding fishermen from South.

A number of new buildings are being constructed by Sinhala fishermen violating the regulations of the local authorities.

In the meantime, New Delhi is reluctant to resolve the exploitation of resources by the big Indian trawler operators who exploit the poverty-stricken Tamil Nadu fishermen in bottom-trawling the fishing resources along the coast of Mannaar and Jaffna.

Following reports of Northern Provincial Council being side-lined by New Delhi and Colombo in the meetings taking place in Colombo and New Delhi, NPC's Fisheries Minister B. Deneeswaran was invited to a meeting that took place in Colombo this week. While urging Colombo to release the fishermen from Tamil Nadu languishing in Colombo’s prisons, the NPC Minister was insistent that the boats of intruding Indian fishermen should not be handed over back to the trawler operators, who are exploiting the fishermen and the resources in the sea.


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