Anti-poaching op: Navy alleges sinister bid to mislead public


Oct 12 detections off Talaimannar

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Navy headquarters has alleged that an attempt is being made to mislead the public regarding operations undertaken by the Coast Guard with the backing of the navy to discourage Tamil Nadu fishing fleet from poaching in Sri Lanka waters.

Navy headquarters spokesperson Commander Indika Silva told The Island that detections made well within Sri Lankan waters was reported in a section of the media as arrests made near Kachchativu close to the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary. Commander Silva alleged that was meant to cast a doubt over legitimate action taken by the government to curb poaching.

The official said that regular patrols would continue in accordance with an overall plan to thwart poaching. Commander Silva said that they had apprehended a large foreign fishing craft off Point Pedro on Wednesday (Oct.14). "We arrested nine-member crew and recovered approximately 600 kilo catch," Commander Silva said.

Referring to arrest of 24 poachers on Oct. 12, Commander Silva said that a section of the media on the basis of statements made by various interested parties reported them being arrested near Kachchativu.

According to him, four fishing craft had been apprehended along with 24 poachers close to Talaimannar in separate detections. However, the Indian media described the location where the arrests were made as near Kachchativu.

Responding to a query, the official claimed that certain interested parties were trying to arouse public feelings in South India. There had been recent reports of the navy terrorising Tamil Nadu fishermen in waters close to Indo-Lanka maritime boundary. Such reportage was meant to bring the navy into disrepute in the eyes of the Tamil Nadu public, Commander Silva said, requesting both media as well as the public to access  for latest. The official said that the navy always provided exact locations where arrests were made.

The latest arrests were made in the wake of the parliament calling for stringent action to curb poaching. The four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) backed action to discourage Tamil Nadu fishing fleet.

Former Navy Commander the then Vice Admiral Tisara Samarasinghe during his submissions before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) called for cohesive action to tackle poaching issue. Samarasinghe declared that the situation could deteriorate unless tangible action was taken in that regard.

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