Karaikal: Even as 37 fishermen from the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu are languishing across the Sri Lankan prisons for the past few weeks, in a fresh round of apprehension, as many as 10 fishermen on board a mechanised boat ventured from Karaikal fishing harbour were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy in the wee hours of Thursday. Meanwhile after the arrest, the detained fishermen were found to have ventured into sea without availing the mandatory tokens required for fishing ventures officially issued by the Karaikal fisheries department.
According to sources, the owner of the detained mechanised boat bearing registration number IND-PY-PK-MM684 has been identified as Veeramani, a native of Karaikalmedu fishing hamlet. The boat owner along with nine other fishermen belonging to Karaikalmedu and TR Pattinam fishing hamlets were said to have ventured for fishing from the Karaikal fishing harbour on December 5. As the fishing crew was supposed to return Karaikal by Thursday morning, according to Sri Lankan navy’s official website, it is said that the 10 fishermen on board the mechanised boat named “Veerarajan” were found fishing in the Sri Lankan maritime waters east of Point Pedro coast.
Apparently, the Lankan navy detained the 10 fishermen under poaching charges and moved the seized fishing vessel to Karainagar jetty by the wee hours of Thursday. Subsequently, the fishing crew from Karaikal were handed over to the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Jaffna for initiating legal actions.
Soon after the information on detention of Karaikal fishermen spread here, the detained fishing crew was found to have intentionally violated the warning issued by the Karaikal fisheries department which urged the fishermen here not to venture for fishing. “We did not issue any tokens to the Karaikal fishermen on December 5 due to the inclement weather, the detained crew at their own risk have ventured and apparently got detained by Lankan navy. In order prevent such incidents in future, we would warn the other fishermen not to venture without availing tokens from us. We need the cooperation of fishing community.” a senior official with Karaikal fisheries department said.
Distancing themselves from the recent detention, fishermen representative from TR Pattinam said that they have been persistently warning both the fishermen and fishing boat owners in 11 fishing hamlets of Karaikal not to violate the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
“We will not involve ourselves in any protests or pleas seeking the retrieval of detained fishing boats and fishermen. We have clearly instructed the fishermen about six months back not to enter Sri Lankan waters.” STP Dravidamani, a fishermen representative from Karaikal said. Including the recent apprehension of 10 fishermen and a mechanised boat from Karaikal on Thursday, in past a month as many as 47 fishermen and 56 boats belonging to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry fishing hamlets are being held under the custody of island nation.
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