Lankan fishing crew produced before court

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Visakhapatnam, Oct 13 (UNI) The city police today produced 65 crew members of 12 Sri Lankan boats, who were engaged in illegal fishing in Indian waters, before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court here.

According to police, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) seized the boats and arrested crew yesterday when they were engaged in fishing in Indian waters off the coast of Paradeep and Visakhapatnam. More than ten tonnes of tuna fish was seized from them.

Three cases were booked and a charge sheet filed for violation of Maritmen Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels Act , 1981).

More than 100 Sri Lankan fishermen had been arrested and 20 fishing trawlers seized this year, till now. The fishermen caught tuna fish in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone in the Bay of Bengal.

Police said 65 fishermen without any valid licence or permits entered the Indian waters.

Local traders exported tuna fish valued at Rs 129 crore last year with the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) setting an export target of Rs 200 crore this year.

More than three million tonnes of tuna fish was available in the exclusive zone. It is learnt the number of Sri Lankan vessels engaged in fishing had doubled after increase in demand for tuna in Europe and the US.

The State and Central Intelligence Agencies were also holding investigations into the incident.

UNI BSR SV HT1220

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