Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister, and leader of the pro-government paramilitary Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), Douglas Devananda chaired a discussion over illegal fishing in Mullaitivu which was attended by government officials and representatives of the army’s fishery organization.
During the discussion control of illegal fishing activities as well as the issuance of fishing permits to out stationed fishermen were discussed. These discussions follow a statement from Devananda in which he vowed to continue to detain Tamil Nadu fishermen who crossed into Sri Lankan waters. Sri Lanka’s Navy has been accused of being complicit in the torture and deaths of over 245 Tamil Nadu fishermen.
“If Indian fishermen enter our waters we will arrest. There is no doubt in that. I have informed the navy” Devananda announced.
In Mullaitivu, the livelihood of Tamil fishermen continues to be threatened by the occupation of the North-East by Sri Lanka’s military. In February soldiers blocked Tamil locals from fishing in Kurunthoor kulam (lagoon) located in Kurunthoormalai, Mullaitivu. In the past, the Navy has implemented a “pass system” which effectively barred Tamil fishermen from accessing fishing waters for months and only permitting those with military approval.
Also in attendance with this meeting, were K. Vimalanathan a representative of the Mullaitivu District government, Assistant Director of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department, Divisional Secretary M. Umamagal and other government officials.