COLOMBO, July 13 (Xinhua) — The Sri Lankan Fisheries Ministry has denied claims that Indian fishermen are to be given a licence to catch fish in Sri Lankan waters on certain days.
Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that India has put forward a proposal to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish 75 days of the year.
However he says a final decision on any proposal will be taken only after having talks with Sri Lankan fishermen’s associations.
“They have made several requests but we have not agreed to anything,” the Minister said.
Fishermen in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state had recently expressed the desire to hold urgent talks with Sri Lanka and reach a compromise in order to resolve the long standing fishing issue.
India’s Tamil Nadu Fishermen’s Association President S. Emiret had said that Tamil Nadu fishermen are prepared to sit down with their Sri Lankan counterparts to map out a time based solution top end the crisis.
Amaraweera said several rounds of talks had been held in the past but most talks ended in failure as those who attended the talks from the Indian side were connected to politicians from Tamil Nadu and had other agendas.
He also denied claims that talks had failed to progress as a result of decisions taken by the Sri Lankan side.
Fishermen in Northern Sri Lanka protested on Tuesday after reports emerged that Sri Lanka was to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish in Sri Lankan waters.