By passing the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource (Amendment) Bill, the Sri Lankan parliament has made illegal the use of explosives to catch fish. Speaking at a parliamentary debate, the country's minister of fisheries and ocean resources, Mahinda Wijesekera, pressed for amending the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Act, 1996, which, while putting emphasis on sustainable development of fisheries, did not disallow the use of explosives in fishing. The possession as well as use of such explosives is now a punishable offence. It could attract a Rs 50,000 fine, a five-year prison sentence or both. Those found guilty for the second time may end up paying Rs 100,000 or receive a jail term.
Even though the amendment bill obtained broad-based support from parliament, Wijesekera has often been accused of favouring Indian fisherfolk, who, allegedly, continue to violate Sri Lanka's territorial waters, while restrictions are imposed on local fishing communities.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.