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Sri Lanka arrests 29 Indian fishermen for poaching

COLOMBO, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka on Sunday arrested 29 Indian fishermen who were poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

The navy said it assisted the Sri Lanka Coast Guard in arresting the fishermen at two different locations in the north and north-western seas.

The navy also seized a trawler and three small boats. The fishermen along with the boats were handed over to the officials of the local Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the police.

Indian fishermen have been arrested over the past few years for poaching in Sri Lankan waters and both countries are still struggling to resolve the issue.

Indian media reports last week quoted Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj as saying she had held consultations with top Sri Lankan leadership to resolve the issue of fishermen from India.

She said a meeting of ministers dealing with fisheries from both countries will be convened in May to evolve a mechanism to resolve the lingering issue.

The indian minister also said the government will enforce installation of GPS systems on fishing boats to steer them clear of maritime boundaries.

Last week fishermen in the south Indian Tamil Nadu state staged protests demanding the immediate release of fellow fishermen lodged in Sri Lankan jails.