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Tamil Eelam fishermen fear the return of Indian trawlers following the lifting of ban

The Northern Province Fishermen’s Association has expressed concerns over the return of Indian trawlers and fisherfolk from Tamil Nadu, as the 61-day annual fishing ban comes to an end on June 15th and the ongoing issues over the Palk Strait remain unaddressed. 

“We are willing to engage in a conversation with the Indian fishermen,” N.M Alam, Secretary to the association told reporters in Mannar, but warned that the continued infringement was impacting on their livelihoods.

Meanwhile across the Palk Strait in Tamil Nadu, Rameshwaran fishermen urged the Indian government to regulate venturing out to sea, given that the ban comes to an end next week. 

R Sagayam, president of Savariar Mechanized Boat Owners’ Association was quoted in the Indian press urging the Indian government to help fishermen and boat owners with regular maintenance. 

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.

In March 2022, 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.

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