Tamil fishermen write letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister

Northern fishermen have signed a collective letter addressed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister urging him to take urgent steps to prevent Indian bottom trawlers from engaging in fishing activities in Northern waters at the expense of their livelihood, the Sunday times reported.
Presidents of the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts fisheries co-operative unions and federation met yesterday at the Valampuri hotel in Jaffna and signed the letter.

“After the war, we tried to rebuild our lives and livelihoods, but we have to face so many challenges and failures in the process.

The falling income and burden of debt are forcing the younger generation to abandon fishing. The main reason for this socio-economic situation are Tamil Nadu bottom trawlers,” the letter said.

Pointing out that the future of small-scale fishermen in Northern Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu were destroyed by bottom trawlers, the fishermen said their nets were being damaged by these boats. To avoid this loss of property they avoided going to the sea on the days the trawlers encroached Sri Lankan waters.

“As a result, we face tremendous loss of income,” the letter went on to say.

Although there had been a number of discussions to ban bottom trawlers between the fishing communities of both countries from 2004 to 2016, no solution had been achieved.

“The only solution to this issue is to ban bottom trawling in the waters of both countries. However, there has been no interest in the central and state level leadership of both countries to solve this issue,” the letter added.

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