Tension sparks as India arrests 14 Sri Lankan fishermen

angry-jayalalitha1COLOMBO, May 21 (Xinhua) — As 14 Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by India tension is sparking again between neighbors, with a government minister on Wednesday saying international mechanisms could be used to resolve the dragging poaching issue.

Sri Lanka could use “international mechanisms” to deal with fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters hours ahead of reports on 14 fishermen being arrested by the Indian coast guard.

“We need to change how we are managing this issue and possibly reduce the time spent in discussions,” he said.

The 14 Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard off the coast of southern India.

The fishermen have been handed over to the Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group for violating the 45-day fishing ban in the eastern coastal zone of Tamil Nadu which had been imposed for fish species’ propagation as it is the fish breeding season, Indian media reported.

Both sides of the simmering poaching issue released over 400 fishermen in January ahead of talks to resolve fishermen crossing into territorial waters.

During the talks Sri Lanka refused a request from the Tamil Nadu fishermen to allow fishing in Lankan waters for 70 days a year and to allow bottom trawling.

Talks between the two countries had ended in deadlock earlier this month and negotiators are scheduled to meet again in June.

Sri Lanka’s government has traditionally shied away from reporting the poaching practices to international organizations such as the European Union as such a move would strain ties between the south Asian neighbors.