Protest in Jaffna against SLA ban on fishing

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 May 2001, 14:23 GMT]
More than hundred and fifty fishermen in Valvettithurai in Jaffna sat in a protest fast from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday demanding that the Sri Lanka army should lift the ban on fishing in the seas off the peninsula's Vadamaradchi division. A spokesman for the Valvettithurai fishermen told Tamilnet that the protest fast will continue until the ban is lifted and some of their reasonable requests are met. The SLA banned fishing in the seas off the coast from Sakkoattai to Thondamanar on 18 May.

The spokesman said that thousands of fisherfolk on this coast have been affected by the ban. The Sri Lanka army and Navy allow fishing in some parts of the sea off the Jaffna coast under severe restrictions, but frequently stop fishermen from plying their trade.

The protesting fishermen say that they are asking the SLA and the Sri Lankan government to allow more fishing hours at sea. They say that the current time limit stipulated by the SLA makes it well nigh impossible to eke out a living.

The fishermen are asking that they be allowed to fish from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. and that the distance out at sea should be increased to five kilometres.

They are also asking the SLA and the Sri Lankan government that:

1.They be allowed to use Out Board Motors on their boats.

2.They should be given relief for the duration of the ban on fishing

3.The value of the relief currently disbursed by the SLG to fisher folk in adverse circumstances should be increased.


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