Against the backdrop of unlawful fisheries activities by Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka waters, the parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on Food Security and Agriculture has cleared the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Bill submitted to Parliament which, if enacted, will enable the authorities to take tough action against anyone indulgent in such practices in Sri Lankan waters, Daily Mirror learns.

The committee met under the chair of MP D. Weerasinghe with the participation of key officials from the Fisheries Ministry. Currently, in the case of illegal, Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, only the licence holder is found guilty under existing legal provisions, and the Fisheries Act has not interpreted who the licence holder is.

With the new law, in addition to the boat owner, the skipper of the boat and any person onboard can be charged for IUU fishing.

The ministry has opted to enact such a piece of legislation in the event of IUU fishing by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters in the northern sea. The two countries have discussed the issue bilaterally for years, but it still remains unresolved.