The Sri Lanka Navy apprehended 26 persons who engaged in illegal fishing practices, during special operations carried out on 13th and 14th June 2023 in the beach area of Lankapatuna and sea area of Mullaitivu. The operations also led to the seizure of 09 dinghies and diving gear used for these illegal acts.
The Navy carries out regular operations in the coastal and sea areas around the island, with a view to prevent illegal fishing practices which threaten the sustainability of fish populations, undermine legitimate fishing industries, and damage marine ecosystems. As an extension of these efforts, SLNS Lankapatuna in the Eastern Naval Command apprehended 11 persons in the dark hours of 13th June at the Lankapatuna beach, as they were returning after illegal night diving. Along with the individuals, the Navy also held 04 dinghies and diving gear belonging to them.
Meanwhile, SLNS Gotabaya belonging to the same Naval Command apprehended 15 more persons, 05 dinghies and unauthorized fishing equipment, during a special operation mounted in the sea area of Mullaitivu on the morning of 14th June. When the apprehension was made the persons were engaging in diving to catch fish, violation of licence conditions which have been imposed to prevent illegal diving activities.
The individuals held in these operations were identified as residents of Mannar, Kinniya and China Bay areas, from 24 to 56 years of age. Meanwhile, the 11 persons, 04 dinghies and diving gear held in Lankapatuna were handed over to the Trincomalee Assistant Directorate of Fisheries and 15 individuals with 05 dinghies and fishing gear held in Mullaitivu were handed over to the Mullaitivu Assistant Directorate of Fisheries for onward legal action.