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Eelam Tamil fishermen seek solution to fishing dispute from Tamil Nadu government













Eelam Tamil fishermen wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M K Stalin seeking a “progressive” solution affecting the two Tamil fisherman communities on either side of the Palk Strait.

Representatives of the Eelam Tamil fishermen reportedly wrote to the minister earlier this month outlining the challenges they face, in particular the damage that Tamil Nadu fishermen's bottom trawlers were causing to their livelihood.

In recent years, fishermen from the North-East have spoken of Indian trawlers encroaching on their fishing grounds in larger boats which are known to damage the seabed and are capable of carrying a larger catch, often exhausting the fishing reserves thus making it harder for Eelam Tamil fishermen obtain a sizeable catch.

The bottom-trawlers cause “colossal damage” to smaller fishermen’s nets in the sea. To prevent any damage to their equipment, Eelam Tamil fishermen avoid going to sea, therefore having a detrimental effect on their livelihood. These bottom trawling boats affect both the fisherman in Tamil Eelam and small-time fisherman in Tamil Nadu. 

The representatives also noted that the reduction in income and rising debt was “forcing” the younger generation “to abandon fisheries”. 

The fishermen leaders also highlighted the harm it was causing to the relationship between the two Tamil communities, and the loss of life due to the Sri Lankan Navy’s dangerous indictment methods.

Eelam Tamil fishing communities have previously called on Sri Lankan authorities to implement a law banning trawlers. Trawling was banned in 2017 through the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, however the legislation has not been fully implemented. 

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