Moratorium on fishermen’s arrest sought

fishermenThe World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) has called upon adoption of moratorium on arrest of fishermen in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the two-day international workshop on “International Guidelines on Securing Sustainable Small Scale Fisheries” here on Tuesday, Mohamad Naseegh Jaffer, Secretary General of WFFP (South Africa) pointed out that the moratorium on arrest should be adopted until there was substantive discussion between the representatives of fishermen and the governments of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

WFFP believes that the problem faced by fishermen can be solved only through mutual respect and enforcement of respective laws.

But if any government takes a strong arm view then fishermen feel intimidated and feel they have no alternative. Negotiations between the respective countries are the best mode to iron out the issues instead of resorting to arrest and killing, he said.

Referring to the dispute between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen in the Palk Bay region, he said the border between India and Sri Lanka is very small and it is very difficult to achieve equity or sharing of the resources.

Mr. Jaffer said that a little bit of compromise on both sides would have immense response. In the case of northern Sri Lanka, the Indian fishermen were in an advantageous position when compared with their counterparts due to the war in the island nation.

Now the Indian fishermen should do some sacrifice and give up fishing in the northern region.

The Indian Government must provide some form of compensation for the sacrifices made by fishermen so that there can be equal sharing between the fishermen of Sri Lanka and India especially in the Palk Bay region.

But on tension among the fishing communities, both the governments must talk in an open and accessible manner and dialogue is the best way of resolving the problem, he said.(The Hindu)

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