His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, presided at the discussion to settle the Negombo fishermen’s dispute with the dry fish-industry. Several fishing authorities and Episcopal Vicar for Negombo Region Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Perera, several priests of the area, representatives from fishing associations and dry-fishing manufacturers participated in this discussion.
A tense situation erupted between Negombo fishermen and Negombo South dry fish manufacturers. Police was summoned to control the situation. Two fishermen had been hospitalized after the incident and a fishing boat was also damaged.
According to sources, the fight had ensued when one group of fisher folk raised objections to another group bringing fish from the South to make dry-fish in Negombo.
A large number of fishermen in Negombo have protested since Monday claiming that their livelihood is threatened due to the sale of fish from the South in Negombo and dry-fish industry being carried out along the coastal area.
About 3000 fishermen put ashore their boats and boycotted venturing to sea.
His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm and Deputy Minister of fisheries and Aquatic Resourse Development, Sarath Kumara Gunaratne intervened to settle the dispute, but his effort turned unsuccessful.
The protest was called off until a settlement is worked out by meetings with the President and the Cardinal on November 24th. The clash between the Negombo dry fish producers and fishermen was solved temporarily.