Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said yesterday it is illegal to recruit or take away from his place of residence, any individual under 18 years of age to work under the International Law and Sri Lankan operational law, and therefore requested fishermen to refrain from using such under-aged persons in fisheries activities.
He said it is mandatory to direct them to proper education.
“If you are a fisherman, taking a minor as a helper or employment of him as a boat watchdog raises a number of social issues, such as the disruption of their education and the mental and physical abuse of those children. And in addition, you too will be punished by law.
It is necessary that you produce either the National Identity Card or Fisheries Identity Card when obtaining the services of a helper, at every fishing cruise.
In the absence of the said identity cards, it is mandatory to produce a letter with a photograph obtained within three months, confirming the identity of the person by the “Grama Niladhari“of his residence area. Also, if you are a novice fisherman, it is a must to produce an original copy of the Police Report obtained within three months, from the Officer-in-Charge of the Police Area,” he said.