Fishermen from Akkaraipettai village began an indefinite strike from Monday night following the detention of 40 of their counterparts by the Sri Lankan navy. The protesters are demanding the immediate release of the detained fishermen, Times of India reports. Sources said that on Monday morning, Sri Lankan naval personnel captured the 40 fishermen from Nagapattinam district and Karaikal in Puducherry, for allegedly fishing beyond the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) in the Sri Lankan waters. Of these, 22 hailed from Nagapattinam. About 10,000 fishermen in Akkaraipettai village that accounts for 80% of the fishing venture in the district struck work from Monday night, demanding the release of the fishermen. As many as 500 boats (both fibre and mechanised boats) remained on shore in the village. “We would not venture into the sea until the release of our fishermen from Sri Lanka is ensured. The problem has remained unresolved for so many years. But the successive governments at the Centre have not paid heed to reach a solution in the issue,” G Manoharan, the president of Akkaraipettai village, said. According to Manoharan, the strike would cause a loss of Rs 3 crore everyday. Due to the strike, the export of fish across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states like Andhra and Kerala, from here came to a halt. Usually, the Indian fishermen cross the IMBL eyeing more fish as there is a dearth of catch in the Indian waters. Manoharan said, “We have no option other than crossing the border for our survival as the trawling fishing method adopted by us results in scarcity of fish like prawns in the long run. However, the Gillnet methods used by Sri Lankan fishermen help maintain the catch level. Even though we are ready to switch to Gillnet method for six months in a year, the government is yet to come out with a decision. So, we demand the government to take steps on this issue on a war-footing.” Sources from the fisheries department in Nagapattinam said no communication has been received so far about the release of the fishermen. About 10,000 fishermen in Akkaraipettai village that accounts for 80% of the fishing venture in the district struck work from Monday night, demanding the release of the fishermen.  ]]>

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