Conflict Over Fisheries in the Palk Bay Region
The Palk Bay region, which separates the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu from northern parts of Sri Lanka, has been in the headlines during recent years. The rich fishing waters, especially lucrative on the Sri Lanka side of the maritime boundary, became a bone of contention between Tamil Nadu fishermen and the Sri Lanka Navy during the years of the ethnic conflict.
With the declaration of a ceasefire between the Sri Lanka Government and the the Tamil Tigers, a new dimension has been added to the problem. Sri Lankan fishermen have resumed fishing operations; however, they find poaching by Indian trawlers into Sri Lanka waters to be a major hindrance to their livelihood. The irony of fisheries in the Palk Strait is that while the trawling ground is limited, trawlers are unlimited. As more and more fishermen start fishing for less and less, storm clouds gather over the Palk Bay. What is the background to this controversy? What are the major issues?
Can Indian interests, especially the interests of Tamil Nadu fishermen, be ensured, fostered and protected without depriving the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen? Can India and Sri Lanka work together and jointly enrich the marine resources in the southern part of South Asia? This book is an attempt to throw light on these and other relevant critical issues. It is hoped the conclusions would stimulate fresh thinking in New Delhi, Colombo, Chennai and Jaffna.