Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday arrested 15 Indian fishermen and also seized two of their trawlers for alleged poaching on the country's territorial waters. The fishermen had been arrested on Saturday off Talaimannar, a settlement located on the northwestern coast of Mannar Islanafter they crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), the Lankan Navy said in a statement.
A 12-year-old boy was also among the fishermen arrested in the sea. According to Rameswaram fishermen, around 2,500 people had gone fishing on Saturday evening and while they were fishing at Dhanushkodi near Talaimannar, the Sri Lankan Navy reached the spot and chased them away.
The fishermen, who remain in naval custody in Talaimannar, will be handed over to the fisheries inspector, the statement added.
Illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen has been a recurrent problem despite many high-level talks held between the two sides.
The latest arrest came as Sri Lanka and India held talks on the international maritime boundary challenges between the two South Asian nations on board a Sri Lanka Naval craft.
The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with the Lankan Navy personnel even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats in several alleged incidents of illegally entering Sri Lankan’s territorial waters.
There have been periodic instances of Indian fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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