Nearly 500 Indian fishing boats are in the custody of Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA). Last week, 17 Indian fishermen were arrested and many fishing trawlers were seized by the PMSA off the Jakhau coast, Gujarat. Indian fishing boats cost around Rs 30 lakh.
Meanwhile, on the humanitarian grounds, the National Fish Workers' Forum has written a letter to the Prime Minister to facilitate a timely solution to the problems faced by the fishermen community. "We have written a letter to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister to look for a timely solution to the problem of Indian fishermen being repeatedly apprehended off the international waters by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA)," NFWF national secretary Manish Lodhari said in Ahmedabad. A copy of the letter, written to the PM on March 15, has also been sent to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Among the primary demands made by the Forum in the letter is setting up of a common fishing zone for Indian and Pakistani fishermen, Lodhari said.
A common fishing zone would allow fishermen from both the countries to fish in the international waters freely.
The letter also demands that fishermen caught by both the countries should be let off after checking.
More than 150 Indian fishermen are languishing in Pakistani jails for crossing international waters and at least 200 Pakistani fishermen are in Indian jails.
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) had also issued an alert to the Commissioner of Fisheries, Gujarat government, last week over the possibility of fishermen being apprehended by PMSA from near the International Maritime Boundary Line. The Coast Guard had issued the alert because in the last one month it had apprehended more than 50 Pakistani fishermen from the Indian waters and also seized their boats in two separate operations.