Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa urged the central government to pursue the idea of sustainable fishing by Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen and disagreed with a proposal to instal buoys to demarcate the international maritime boundary.
“During the talks between the fishing communities of two countries, there has been a clear recognition that fishing by both the countries could co-exist with both sides agreeing over the fishing days and a thrust given to sustainable fishing practices like use of gill nets and long liners,” said Jayalalithaa.
“This approach has also been deliberated upon in the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group and needs to be intensively pursued,” Jayalalithaa said in her letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, text of which was released here Tuesday.
Disagreeing with the idea of installing buoys on the India-Sri Lanka international maritime boundary line (IMBL), Jayalalithaa refered to a suit pending in the Supreme Court against the transfer of Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka said the state government does not consider the maritime boundary as a settled issue.
“Given the issue is sub judice, it would neither be appropriate nor be feasible to install buoys along the IMBL at this point of time,” she said.
Jayalalithaa expressed concern over some of the points that emerged at the inter-ministerial meeting on India-Sri Lanka fishermen issue June 17 chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
On the proposal to diversify the fishing-based livelihood of the Tamil Nadu fishermen, Jayalalithaa said the state government has already taken some measures including 50 percent subsidy to procure new tuna long liners.
She also referred to her memorandum to Modi requesting a comprehensive special package for diversification of fisheries at a cost of Rs.1,520 crore.
She said the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar are special ecological zones. The Gulf of Mannar is home to India’s first marine bio-sphere reserve.
“The Palk Bay is quite shallow. Hence both the areas are not suitable for open sea mariculture. Moreover, the scope for extensive aquaculture in the coastal districts is also limited as agriculturists have objected to the potential salinisation of fresh water aquifers caused by aquaculture activities,” she said.