Sri Lanka arrests 15 Indian fishermen

At least 15 Indian fishermen have been arrested today by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, in the fifth such incident this month.

The fishermen were arrested for poaching in the country's waters off the north west of Talaimannar and Palk Strait this morning, Navy spokesman Akram Alavi said.

The fishermen and their three boats were seized and handed over to the fisheries department officials at Talaimannar and Jaffna for further action, he said.

Eleven of the fishermen, belonging to Rameswaram, were arrested near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974, and they were taken to Talaimannar, Assistant Director of Fisheries Department Gopinath said.

Other fishermen, hailing from Jagadapattinam in Pudukottai district, were arrested near the Sri Lankan coast and taken to Kangesanthurai, he said.

He said a boat had sunk near Katchatheevu and six fishermen in it were rescued by other fishermen and brought here.

The navy has arrested Indian fishermen five times this month on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

The arrests followed the release of all 126 Indian fishermen last week who were in Sri Lankan custody for poaching in the country's territorial waters.

Sri Lankan government says it is planning to introduce a new legislation to confiscate equipment of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters.