Last year, the SL Fisheries Department in Colombo had given permits to a large number of boat owners, amounting to 72 boats, from outside the province last year.
However, an overwhelming number of boats exceeding that figure had come from outside provinces and engaged in illegal fishing activities from Naayaa'ru to Mukaththuvaaram with the backing of SL Navy and the Sinhala police in 2017. The native fishermen federation says there were 377 boats from outside provinces and five to seven intruding fishermen were seen operating each boat throughout the 9 months.
The majority of Sinhala fishermen and their families who had camped in Mukaththuvaaram went back to their villages after September last year.
In the meantime, the Sinhala Navy was looking after their properties and huts for four months.
The fisheries societies in Mullaiththeevu had requested the SL fisheries authorities not to renew the permits of the intruding fishermen from South.
But, the first fishing vessel was spotted on 13th January entering Naayaa'ru without any permit, civil sources in Karaithu'raippatu said.
The livelihood of war-affected Tamil fishermen in the division was completely shattered in recent years due to the influx of Sinhala fishermen from South.
Apart from destroying the livelihood of native fishermen, the occupying fishermen were also causing massive destruction to the eco system and the coastal environment.
Following video recorded on 18 April exposes the belligerent conduct of Sinhala colonists, who went to the extent of violent threat against the Tamil officials from Mullaiththeevu District Secretariat, Land Commission and Village Officers (GS) of Kokku’laay East and West, when they were instructed by the courts to conduct surveying of a disputed fishing vaadi area.
A follow-up video recorded on 19 April, documents the reaction of Tamil families and their provincial councillor T. Ravikaran:
“The countries that promoted SL State with giving more time and space at Geneva are complicit in the structural genocide against Eezham Tamils. You are all joining hands in destroying us. Tamils will be completely losing the coast of Mullaiththeevu within two years. The IC should not delay any further in bringing international justice,” Mr Ravikaran said in the video interview.
Following video, which narrates the experience of a Tamil fisherman, was recorded in January 2017: