Colombo: The Sri Lankan Navy has arrested 18 Indian fishermen and seized their trawlers for allegedly poaching in the island nation's waters, an official statement said on Wednesday, in the third such incident this month.
The fishermen were arrested, and their two trawlers seized on Tuesday off the coast of Mannar in the northeast, the Sri Lanka Navy said in a press release.
The 18 apprehended fishermen were escorted to the Thalpadu Pier in Mannar and will be handed over to the Talaimannar Fisheries Inspector for further action, it said.
On Sunday, as many as ten Indian fishermen were arrested, and their trawler seized for allegedly poaching in the island nation's waters, while 12 Indian fishermen were apprehended on Saturday.
The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with Lankan Navy personnel even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats in several alleged incidents of illegally entering Sri Lankan territorial waters.
The Palk Strait, a narrow strip of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, is a rich fishing ground for fishermen from both countries.
There have been periodic instances of Indian fishermen being arrested by Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and fishing in Sri Lankan waters.
In 2023, the island nation's Navy arrested 240 Indian fishermen along with 35 trawlers for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters.