Secretaries to the Ministries of Fisheries of Sri Lanka and India met in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the fishing issue bedeviling relations between the two countries.

On January 2, the Agriculture cum Fisheries Minister of India, Radha Mohan Singh, and the Fisheries Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Amaraweera, will meet in Colombo to carry forward the decisions taken at the Secretary-level talks.

Officials described the New Delhi talks as the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries (JWGF) which was set up when the Foreign Ministers of the two countries met in New Delhi in October.

The JWGF consists only of civil and military officials of Sri Lanka and India. It does not have representatives of the Tamil Nadu government or the fishermen of the two countries.

Among the main issues to be discussed in these two meetings are: measures to prevent Indian fishermen from crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) to poach in Sri Lankan waters; the release of fishermen and boats detained in Sri Lanka; and the joint preservation and development of resources in the sea between the two countries.

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