(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Sri Lanka Navy during a special operation on Wednesday has apprehended two Indian fishing vessels with 23 Indian fishermen aboard while illegally fishing in Sri Lankan waters in seas east of Point Pedro and Vettilaikeni.
According to the Navy Media Unit, Fast Attack Craft of the 04th Fast Attack Craft Flotilla (4 FAF) and Inshore Patrol Craft attached to the Northern Naval Command seized the two Indian fishing vessels along with the fishermen.
The operation also led to the seizure of fishing gear from those vessels, used for the illegal fishing practice known as ‘bottom trawling’, and a stock of fish caught by the same fishing method.
The operation was conducted adhering to COVID-19 protocols to prevent possible transmission of the pandemic.
The two fishing vessels and the 23 Indian fishermen have been detained in naval custody until they are handed over to relevant authorities for onward legal action.
Last time, the Navy seized 05 fishing vessels and 54 Indian nationals for poaching in Sri Lankan waters on 24th March 2021. However with the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the Navy limited seizure of foreign fishing vessels and continued to repatriate them to their home waters.
Further, Sri Lanka Navy will continue to carry out regular patrols in Sri Lankan waters adhering to COVID-19 protocols, to prevent illegal fishing practices and other illegal acts by foreign fishermen, with a view to protect the fishery resources claimed by Sri Lanka and secure the livelihood of local fishermen.