SLA ban, restrictions cripple Fisheries Societies’ activities in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 August 2008, 04:49 GMT]
One hundred and seventeen fisheries societies in Jaffna peninsula have been disabled to continue their development activities due to the continuing fishing ban and restrictions imposed by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), President of Jaffna Peninsula Fisheries Societies Unions’ Federation, S. Thavaratnam expressed concern. The fisheries societies entirely dependent on membership subscription to carry on their activities are forced into inactivity, he added.

117 fisheries societies in Vadamaraadchi, Thenmaraadchi, Valikaamam and the islets of Jaffna are presently functioning in Jaffna peninsula.

Development programs including nursery schools, pre-schools, rural loans are the activities that have stalled due to lack of funds, Thavaratnam said.

Several Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) which had earlier actively assisted fisher folk had given up their projects, except for a few that limit their assistance to the supply of dry food only.

Ten fisheries societies in Valikaamam North and five fisheries in Vadamaraadchi north, displaced due to SLA offensives, are now functioning on the coastal villages of Vadamaraadchi North.

The 117 fisheries societies have organized themselves into 15 Fisheries Unions and these Unions in turn have a Federation of Fisheries Societies representing them.

A fisherman in Jaffna is permitted to fish only once in two weeks in Jaffna lagoon according to an alternative system imposed by SLA, the president said.

Fishermen in Vadamaraadchi area have been not allowed to enter the sea for the last 14 days due to the fishing ban that is in force now.

The SLA fishing ban and restrictions have pushed the fisher families in the peninsula to the brink of starvation, Thavaratnam said.


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