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As many as 87 Indian fishing vessels are in custody of Sri Lanka and the government has taken up the issue with the country's authorities, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Minister of State for External Affairs Gen V K Singh said in a written reply that as on December 12, there were 87 Indian fishing vessels under the custody of Sri Lanka.
He said government attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen and, in this regard, has consistently taken up the issue of release of Indian fishermen and boats with the government of Sri Lanka.
"Government is also steadfastly working, in close cooperation with the relevant stakeholders, in finding a long term solution to this issue," Singh said.
He said the Sri Lankan government has informed the government that Indian fishermen engage in bottom trawling in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka.
Under the relevant laws and regulations, there is a complete ban on bottom trawling in Sri Lanka, the Minister said.