1 October, 2020

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Lawlessness On The Sea And Anarchy In The Streets – The Government’s Failure To Protect The Seas And Fishing Community In Kalpitiya

On Friday, October 21st, protests in Kalpitiya reached a boiling point as violence broke out. Villagers from the Thalawila and Kandakuliya fishing communities gathered in force and created a blockade at Kurinjampitiya Junction, just a few kilometers south of Kalpitiya town. The blockade started yesterday (20/10/16) morning as a peaceful sit down protest.

The fishing communities are protesting against illegal ‘laila’ and ‘suroku’ fishing practices that take place in Kalpitiya waters. They say that over the past five years they have noticed a significant drop in the fish population and now the situation at sea is becoming dire.protest-fishing-community-in-kalpitiya

The protesters consisting of women and children gathered after a fisherman was allegedly threatened out at sea by a laila group consisting of 10 boats. They told him to get out of their fishing area or they would attack him. People sat peacefully throughout the day and night chanting slogans and stating they will not leave until this situation is resolved. No traffic was allowed to pass and vehicles were lined up on either side of the blockade. Only ambulances, school vehicles and an air force truck were allowed to pass. One navy truck tried to pass but the group forced them to turn around.protest-fishing-community-in-kalpitiya

This (21st) morning a large group of 200 or more people who were allegedly laila fishermen and laila supporters came to the blockade to face down the village protest. It is said that the supposed laila group attacked the protesters, consequently igniting a large scale fight. The attacking group soon fled back to Kalpitiya town. In their retreat the protestors burned one lorry and three motorbikes belonging to alleged laila fishermen.

It is said that the advancing “laila group” moved freely past the Kalpitiya Navy camp, police station and courthouse. Police were on site but were able to do little to stop the violence. Ambulances were seen rushing off from the scene of the fight.protest-fishing-community-in-kalpitiya

Allegedly the retreating group went on to burn fishing boats in the Kalpitiya area. By this point it is said that Kalpitiya Navy forces took action against the laila group after receiving orders from higher command. By about 1:30 pm the police force had grown and was now equipped with riot gear, but still were positioned behind the front line of the protesters. By 3pm a few STF trucks had arrived and were stopped a couple kilometers away from the scene, but troops had not been deployed.

These illegal fishing methods involve the use of weighted nets on reefs and schools of fish. Divers are deployed from around 6 to 10 boats with a large net, the divers position the net around coral reefs and schools of fish and the boatmen then lift the nets to the surface. This method takes only 45 minutes or more and can catch fish in the thousands. When this method is used on a reef it destroys coral. Many of the fish caught are not edible as they are small reef fish, the kind tourists come to see by snorkeling and diving. In recent years as fishermen say the illegal groups and adapted their method to catch schools of tuna. When going after large schools of tuna, dolphins are often trapped and killed in the process.

Much of this illegal and destructive fishing activity takes place within the Bar Reef marine sanctuary, which is one of Sri Lanka’s few Marine National Parks. Locals often call the Navy to stop this activity but action is never taken.

“I can say first hand as a diver and conservationist living in Kalpitiya that several times I have spotted laila groups fishing in open sight within the Bar Reef sanctuary. I myself have called the Navy to act but no action was taken. Fishermen say local Navy personnel and some other government officials are supporting laila fishing,” said Keira Perera.

On the 18th of October fishing communities from the whole Kalpitiya peninsula had headed down to Colombo in ten or more buses to stage a protest. The protesters marched from Vihara Maha Devi Park to the Presidential Secretariat office where they were met by a police blockade. The group handed over a letter to the government pleading them to uphold the laws of the country and stop illegal fishing. The government stated they will give an official response by the 25th of October.

Many fishermen say they feel hopeless and abandoned by their government. They say the Navy has the power to stop this illegal practice immediately but do not. Fishermen and members of the tourist scuba diving community and dolphin watching community have said they have seen major negatives effects on the once vibrant marine ecosystem Kalpitiya is known to boast. If this illegal practice is allowed to continue it will not only hurt the fishermen but will ruin tourism in the area.

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  • 4
    0

    All involve perks, corruptions, bribes. happening since independence. The Pedro fish bank has been robbed by foreign Fishing flotillas and factory ships protected by Lank Navy. During the reign Eelam Navy there was enough fish in the lanka shores and Singhala, Tamil and Muslim Fishermen and people benefitted a lot. Now The Indians picking the leftover scrap. Lank fishermen not allowed to own Boats bigger than 32 feet are chased away fsh rich seas and forced to fish in the empty waters

    • 2
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      I have seen Sri Lanka Navy on the Bar Reef, sight seeing with Navy families and breaking corral off Kalpitiya.

      It is the armed forces that are logging treas in cities and towns and forests and contributing to pollution and heat haze on land, and engaged in illegal tourism and fishing in the ocean..

      Well understandable with such corrupt politicians “leading” the country from the rear end and looting the people!

      • 1
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        Police has killed 2 students in Jaffna. The military are involved in economic crimes, rather than preventing crime.

        In the Miracle of Modayas the supposed law keepers are the biggest breakers of the law.

        The so called ‘leaders’ of the Miracle, are a caste of corrupt and rent-seeking politicians who loot the people and the wealth of the country and store it in off-shore bank accounts!

        Law and order is farce, meanwhile the PM is overseas with a begging bowl and asking foreign experts to draft national policy! It is the foreign aid agencies that have systematically de-developed and under-developed the fisheries sectors and prevented INDUSTRIALIZATION of fisheries in Sri Lanka which has a massive and unpolluted Ocean around it and despite the fact that Marine Resources are the county’s most abundant and rich resource.

  • 4
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    RE: Lawlessness On The Sea And Anarchy In The Streets – The Government’s Failure To Protect The Seas And Fishing Community In Kalpitiya

    In the meantime the President Gon Dirisena Gamarala is busy defending the crooks and killers , Gotabayas and cronies, and interfering in the work of Independent Commissions.

    Will Gon Gamarala help the fisherman and the corals? Is Gon Gamarla on the side of the culprits?

    From Bulath Vines Vettila Vines and Grape Vines…..

    Reason behind president’s inflammatory speech known ! Impeachment imminent as attempts are made to rescue criminals !

    Vine news inside information division has been able to track down the reason behind last week’s odious and offensive speech of president Maithripala Sirisena which compromised the Independent Commissions including the Police Commission ; criticized the judicial process and sought to rescue the rogues and criminals. This speech was so outrageously inflammatory that it was tantamount to the president voluntarily consuming a cyanide capsule to commit political suicide.

    The investigations into three main and ghastly murders committed by the deposed and discarded Rajapakses during the nefarious decade have by now reached the final stage. The three murders are : Lasantha’s, Ekneliyagoda’s and Thajudeen’s.

    The criminals responsible for the three murders have been identified , and the crucial question now is , who gave these criminal orders ? What remains is to track down this culprit . Even the telephonic discussion for over an hour that was exchanged at Temple Trees at 1.00 a.m in connection with Ekneliyagoda murder had been uncovered .

    Already 11 reports have been furnished to court by all the intelligence and security divisions that Ekneliyagoda had no links whatsoever with the Tiger organization. Hence this was a clear political murder committed by the Rajapakses . Now investigations are at the final stage , and all what remains to be uncovered is , with evidence ascertain who are the Rajapakses who gave the instructions supported by evidence .

    Maithripala Sirisena made his explosive ‘cyanide speech’ and advanced stealthily in order to save the murderous Rajapakses.

    Based on reports reaching Vine news inside information division , it is a most infamous political Bhikkhu ,and a notorious wheeler dealer minister who sleeps with the Rajapakses on the same mattress who have instilled the necessary ‘poison’ into Maithri and got him round to blabber as he did yesterday . Maithripala who suffers from puerile drives and loses his sane thinking power more often than not , had fallen prey to the poison and destructive proposals , going by his thoughtless and senseless speech yesterday .

    No matter what ,yesterday’s ridiculous speech of Maithripala was tantamount to turning his back on the very masses that steered him to victory on 2015-01-08, and forcibly displaying his hideous back and bottom to them despite their stubborn refusal to see that ugly sight. Indeed the whole country has been provoked by his speech , and Maithripala has incurred the absolute displeasure of the entire population. Never has a leader earned so much wrath and curse of a nation in just a night , and tarnished his image this much.

    In the event of Maithripala taking the step of bringing the ministry of law and order under his purview or resorts to some other disastrous self destructive action , that will be the beginning of the end of Maithripala with an impeachment motion in parliament staring in his face.

    The political parties , Civil and professional forces, and pro good governance masses that steered him to victory were hitherto doing everything to save him as long as he was against the murderers , the corrupt and rogues , and discharging his tasks accordingly , have now realized , he is truly protecting and shielding those very criminals most traitorously . Under the present circumstances it is certain not even a dog in the street will come to his rescue .It is hoped Maithripala will take serious note of this warning .

  • 3
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    I have seen the Sri Lankan navy in action engaging in illegal fishing practices themselves with my own eyes. When I brought this to the notice of a top level navy official I was told that since they make the rules they can break them. The Navy turns a blind eye to illegal fishing because the illegal fishermen pay them bribes. The Navy is pathetic.

  • 2
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    Lawlessness On The Sea And Anarchy In The Streets – The Government’s Failure To Protect The Seas And Fishing Community In Kalpitiya

    Anarchy in some politician giving permission for fishing with illegal fishing net – it is started by the politician themselves and they wanted to settle the issue by not addressing the core of the issue!

  • 1
    0

    Lawlessness On The Sea And Anarchy In The Streets – The Government’s Failure To Protect The Seas And Fishing Community In Kalpitiya

    Anarchy in some politician giving permission for fishing with illegal fishing net – it is all started by the politician themselves and they wanted to settle the issue by not addressing the core of the issue adamantly!

  • 2
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    This is what happen when dogs do donkeys job. The subject need professional judgements. Our idiots are concerned with car permits and perks. Outcome is people’s choice.

  • 2
    0

    Sri Lanka is sitting on acres of Ocean and Marine resources are the coutnry’s compartive advantage and National Wealth, but the fisheries sector is underdeveloped because the Ministers of Fisheries have always been corrupt crooks. This is the cast today and was so with Mahinda Wijesekera.

    Instead of running after foreign donors and aid agencies which have kept the Sri Lankan fisheries sector under-developed, Sri Lankan govt and Ranil Wickramasinghe’s economic team needs a strategic and sustainable policy and action plan to up-scale the Fisheries industry and take poor fisheries communities out of poverty by leveraging the country’s comparative advantage in marine resources, fisheries and aquaculture.

    Build massive trawlers to go out into the deep sea around Sri Lanka! EU, Britian, Koraea, Japan and China send massive trawlers to fish in deep waters near Sri Lanka.

  • 1
    0

    At the Colombo harbour, which is a high security zone , but under the careful patronage of the navy, Local fisherman deploy nets INSIDE the MAIN HARBOUR AREA.
    I assume they charge a Protection fee from the fisherman.
    Good thing the LTTE black tigers are no more…… or the colombo harbour would go the way of the Anuradhapura air force camp.

  • 1
    1

    The problem is there is a Singhala-Tamil problem here.

    Most laila fishermen are Tamils coming back to their original homes. They use Tamil Nadu laila fishing practice. This is illegal but for the sake of reconciliation, government is not taking any action!

    Disgrace!

  • 1
    0

    Can anyone name the countries officially Bribe the MPs

  • 0
    0

    Where is that Iddamalgoda ??????????

  • 1
    0

    Fisheries Federation of Mannar and Mullaitivu have been raising this issue with the past and present Presidents since the end of the war. Earlier this year the Grama Sevaka of Mullaitivu was assaulted and his ID taken away by the Navy which was supporting the illegal fishermen. A fisherman in Mannar was attacked and killed. It is unfortunate that the lack of concern on the part of authorities and law enforcement/security forces has allowed this situation to spread to other parts of the island as well. The only advantage is that now the problem is gaining awareness. Hope it helps solve the problem

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