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Arrested Indian vessels will only be released with the concurrence of Fisheries Associations in the Northern Province, emphasizes Hon Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development

In the event of installing transponders and providing VMS facilities to Dikkowita fishery harbour to monitor multiday fishing vessels engaging in deep sea fishing, Hon Minister Mahinda Amaraweera expressed these views as response to the questions raised by media whether the discussions regarding the Indian fishermen issue are to be made with the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in his visit to Sri Lanka.

Hon Minister mentioned that no such discussion has been yet scheduled by the government. “Since the Indian government has taken many desirable measures in finding solutions to the India - Sri Lanka fishermen issue, there is no wrong in considering the idea of releasing a part the arrested Indian vessels. However, they will only be released with the concurrence of Fisheries Associations in the Northern Province and Sri Lanka also should show some flexibility in this matter” mentioned the Minister.

With Transponders installed in multiday fishing vessels, it could be found out  whether  the vessels  are breaching international maritime borders and  it will also be helpful  to rescue the vessels in case of an accident at sea by tracking the location via GPS and satellite technology.

This facility is vital in establishing a legal and professional fisheries industry and according to the International Law of the Sea; it is requisite that every multiday vessel be installed with a transponder. In case of failure to install transponders or vandalism by making them dysfunctional or disconnecting the power supply, legal actions will be taken against the respective persons. Their permits could be annulled and never be re-issued.

Up to now, this facility was operated by the Vessel Monitoring Center of the Fisheries Department. With this new device, vessel owners and families of the vessel crew will also be able to observe fishing vessels from ground. The government has incurred 800 million for the installations. The Ministry has also provided the vessel monitoring facility to SL Navy saving another 850 million cost to the government. 

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