Fishers’ rights will be safeguarded – Douglas Devananda
At a recent discussion in Colombo, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda pledged dedicated efforts to safeguard fishermen’s rights as the Draft regulations related to the ILO C188- Work in Fishing Convention, 2007, were presented. Alongside Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, State Fisheries Minister Piyal Nishantha De Silva, Australian High Commissioner Paul Stephens, and Director of ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Simrin Singh, Minister Devananda emphasized the significant benefits of ratifying C188.
The Minister highlighted that ratifying and complying with C188 would not only enhance working conditions and create employment but would also bolster the sector’s global competitiveness, offering substantial economic returns and fostering long-term growth and sustainability in Sri Lanka’s vital fisheries sector. Given its role in food security, nutrition, trade, employment, and export earnings, the fisheries sector’s development is pivotal, especially amid the ongoing economic challenges.
Emphasizing the government’s commitment to fortify the fisheries sector and ensure decent work conditions, the draft regulations will contribute to a joint Cabinet Paper by the Labour and Foreign Employment Ministry and the Fisheries Ministry, advancing Sri Lanka’s ratification of C188.
Minister Devananda introduced the Draft Act, incorporating new rules and regulations into the existing Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act of 1996. Drawing inspiration from his family’s involvement in the Trade Union movement, he stressed his earnest dedication to this cause, citing his father and uncle’s pioneering work with the International Labour Organisation.
Expressing confidence in Sri Lanka’s efforts to finalize and ratify the convention with the support of all stakeholders, Minister Devananda underlined the necessity of granting fishers the rights and protections they deserve, aligning the Ministry with the decent work agenda for the Fisheries Sector.
Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara echoed strong support for Sri Lanka’s ratification of C188, considering it a legal and moral obligation to provide dignity of work to fishers and an integral part of broader efforts to fortify social-security systems for private sector workers.
Australian High Commissioner Paul Stephens emphasized Australia’s commitment to enhancing economic opportunities for Sri Lankans, particularly in the fisheries sector, through investments in various value chains. He expressed hope for the government’s progression in ratifying C188.
Simrin Singh, Director of ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, highlighted the convention’s significance in providing dignity and protection for workers, showcasing promising prospects for industry growth. The ILO pledged unwavering support for Sri Lanka’s strides toward the earliest ratification of C188.
The presence of Fisheries Ministry Secretary Indu Rathnayake and senior officials underscored the collective commitment towards advancing Sri Lanka’s fisheries sector and ensuring the welfare of its workers.