India, Sri Lanka to release fishermen in each others’ custody | india-news | Hindustan Times
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India, Sri Lanka to release fishermen in each others’ custody

After ministerial level talks in Colombo, Sri Lanka reiterated its demand to end the practice of bottom trawling, a technique that involves sweeping the sea bed for fish, and India gave assurances that it would gradually phase it out.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2017 23:19 IST
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Union minister for agriculture Radha Mohan Singh, Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samarweera and other dignitaries at the India-Sri Lanka meeting on fishermen issues in New Delhi on Saturday.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Union minister for agriculture Radha Mohan Singh, Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samarweera and other dignitaries at the India-Sri Lanka meeting on fishermen issues in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI )

India and Sri Lanka agreed to release fishermen in each others’ custody, a joint statement said on Monday, a move that is likely to ease tensions between the countries which have held fishermen captive for crossing territorial waters.

After ministerial level talks in Colombo, Sri Lanka reiterated its demand to end the practice of bottom trawling, a technique that involves sweeping the sea bed for fish, and India gave assurances that it would gradually phase it out.

Critics oppose the method because the catch is indiscriminate and could wipe out entire fishing species, making areas unsustainable for fishing.

It was not immediately clear from the statement issued by the two governments and published on the website of the Indian ministry of external affairs how many fishermen were being held by either side, or for how long they had been detained.

Pakistan released 220 Indian fishermen in December as a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions with its neighbour.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea states that fishermen who cross territorial waters can be warned and fined but not arrested.