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Video: Indian trawlers threaten Sri Lanka fisheries

Sri Lanka says it loses more than $50m a year due to poaching by Indian fishermen.

The problem is crippling the country’s local fisheries, particularly in the eastern and northern parts of the island, where Al Jazeera shot exclusive photos of Indian trawlers fishing just 4km off the Sri Lankan coast.

India has admitted to “issues relating to the straying of fishermen from both countries into each other’s territorial waters” and says it is working to address the problem.

Al Jazeera’s Minelle Fernandez reports from Pesalai in northwest Sri Lanka.


  1. Native Vedda says:

    Indians believe that they are only fishing in their Sinhala state of India.

    So what seems to be the problem?

  2. Patta Pal says:

    Sri Lanka has a decent sized Navy now, and I believe their most important job is to enforce our economic zone, and prevent unauthorized vessels fishing in Sri Lankan waters. They should get the requisite technology, including carrier based helicopters to ensure that there is no poaching in SL waters.

    Additionally the Government has done very little to assist the multiday trawler business in Sri Lanka as it is considered a rich man’s business, with day fisherman who only venture upto 4km forming the vast majority of our fisherman. It is a little bit of chicken and egg here, as bigtimers have not bought trawlers, fearing that the poaching is not prevented, and therefore they will not be able to get a good catch to pay for the costs of running a multiday trawler or bigger boats. Therefore it is imperative to stop poaching and then show that it can be enforced, thereby encouraging local fisherman.

    A further problem has been the granting of fishing rights to Korean, Chinese and Japanese vessels in Sri Lankan waters, by the Government ministers for huge bribes, further eroding the ability of local fisherman to fish in our own waters.

    Largescale fishing is a very technology and capital intensive business in order to be productive and profitable and to cover the huge costs of running trawlers. A guaranteed catch is essential for this kind of investment. It is ironic that the so called ubiquitous “salmon tins” are cheap fish canned and imported from far away Chile and similar distances, because their canning ships do all the processing on the ships and transport them out for distribution worldwide in large quantities, enabling economies of scale to send fish to SL cheaper than we can do it on our shores! That is some food for thought for the authorities to realize it is not as easy as one thinks to be able to do all this internally without significant input from experts worldwide.


  3. Chinese Charm says:

    Exploitation by foreign trawlers has been rampant since the Time of independance.

  4. Chinese Charm says:

    Immediate action should be takken for the recovery of the natural habitate for marine fish pool in Park’s straight, ward bank and Pedro bank. Ragitha Please Take Attention on this matter. As the fish migrate around the Island it is important for Northern and sourthern and Tamil Nadu fishermen. I knew there was unwritten Tradithinal disipilne was observed years ago. But No one care about it now. There should be seasonal ban for fishing. Ban on any form of fishing in areas where breeding happens. There should be a stringent discipline on the method of fishing. alternative employment arrangement during non fishing Times. In the shallow water fishing should be only for the family food. Not more than that. Intense education village by village is important.

  5. I'm Eelam says:

    this is also their historical sea.
    I’m Eelam

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