The Defence Ministry hasby a Speical Gazette published on 29.12.2006 prohibited the use of high powered engines/outboard motors on fishing or other vessels as an anti terrorist measure.
Boats with outboard engines that exceed 15 horsepower were not permitted. The LTTE Sea Tigers in disguise used such powerful boats mingling among fishermen for their terrorist activities, said Secretary Ministry of Fisheries G.Piyasena told The Island yesterday (2).
When asked if fishermen were aware of the ban on high powered fishing craft, he said, they had been informed through the district fisheries offices located in the fishing areas.
Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera said in Parliament last month during an adjournment motion debate that the ministry sought to protect genuine fishermen but it had become necessary for defence authorities to take appropriate steps to defend the country. The minister made this statement in response to the query whether some fishermen arrested recently on high seas outside the Colombo harbour could be released.
The Ministry Secretary said there were 38,000 mechanized fishing vessels but there were 17,000 to 18,000 fishing craft fitted with engines exceeding 15 horse power.
The Gazette Notification states also states that fishermen in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavunia, Mulaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa , Ampara and the Kalpitiya Divisional Secretary areas were prohibited using boats over 10 horsepower engines,. The ban applies all users including sportsmen.