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India releases 43 Sri Lankan fishermen

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 20:30:57

COLOMBO, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Forty-three Sri Lankan fishermen and 10 trawlers were released by the Indian coast guard and handed over to local authorities, media reported here on Friday, as both countries continue to grapple with the issue of poaching.

The release came after Sri Lanka's navy detained 29 Indian fishermen on Thursday as tension continues to brew between the two countries over poaching.

The 29 fishermen and seven boats were noticed by the navy while on routine patrol and they had been escorted to the northern part of Sri Lanka and handed over to the police, according to Navy Spokesman Kosala Warankulasooriya.

Earlier this month, fishermen in Sri Lanka's Northern Province issued a deadline to local and Indian fishermen for stopping using illegal fishing methods in the island's territorial waters.

Sri Lanka and India have long standing issues over fishermen from both countries illegally crossing over to each other's maritime waters and poaching.

Last month, the two sides exchanged over 400 fishermen after high-level talks to resolve illegal fishing.

Sri Lankan fishermen have alleged that illegal fishing methods are destroying the seabed in the Palk Strait that is shared by local and Indian fishermen.

The Indian government during January talks agreed to assist in phasing out illegal fishing practices. Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh has described it as an "emotive issue" that would require greater engagement with the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu as well as with Colombo.

Editor: chengyang
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