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The government of Thailand and its main companies are making a tremendous effort to improve their image regarding slaughtering in fishing vessels.

Thailand becomes Southeast Asia’s first country to publish licensed fishing vessels

  (THAILAND, 9/25/2018)

Thailand has shown commitment to ethical, legal, sustainable fisheries by publishing a full list of all its registered and licensed fishing vessel, according to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

EJF points out that making such information freely available, together with a watchlist containing vessels prohibited from fishing, is a crucial step in eradicating illegal fishing and human rights abuse in the industry, and marks Thailand out in the region for taking this progressive step.

According to the foundation, much of the fishing industry is at best opaque, and at worst operates under a veil of secrecy.

“Illegal operators aim to create as much confusion as possible around their identities, escaping detection by changing vessel names, concealing ownership, flying different flags, or removing ships from registers entirely,” the EJF highlights in its statement.

The NGO states that Thailand has grappled with all these problems in its efforts to tackle illegal fishing and human rights abuses in its fleets, adding that the complete list of all 10,742 vessels eligible to fish in Thai waters is now publicly available on the Thai Marine Department website containing the vessel’s registration number, owner’s name, and port of registration.

“Transparency is one of the best guards we have against illegal fishing and the associated human rights abuses,” says EJF’s Executive Director Steve Trent.

“It sets the path towards good governance and the sustainable use of natural resources and can combat the mismanagement and corporate greed which has been a clear contributing factor in many illegal fishing operations,” stresses Trent.

(Photo: Sea Around Us)

In his view, transparency does not require new, sophisticated technology, or unrealistic expense, measures that are simple, cheap and can be put in place today by all nations.

EFJ highlights that this move comes at a time when Thailand is preparing to become chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 2019, providing a unique opportunity to encourage other neighbouring countries to follow suit.

As well as publishing vessel lists, EJF is calling on governments to publish a list of vessels sanctioned either for illegal fishing or human trafficking and information on "beneficial ownership" of fishing vessels, in other words who truly takes the profits.
 
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