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Thailand fisheries sector spanning the entire 3,219 kilometres of the country’s coastline employs over 2 million people.

EU to check Thai fishing sector progress against IUU fishing

Click on the flag for more information about Thailand THAILAND
Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 22:30 (GMT + 9)

The European Union (EU) is to assess Thailand’s progress in its fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing again this month to determine whether the ‘yellow flag’ against the country’s fishing sector can be lifted.

In this regard, the Thai Defence Ministry’s spokesman Pol Lt-General Kongcheep Tantravanich showed the country’s willingness to prove the issue has been dealt with by enforcing laws against IUU fishing, The Nation reported.

According to Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, 10,771 of some 20,000 fishing trawlers in Thailand have already undergone proper registration and have complied with international laws.

The Minister’s updates also showed that the Marine Department and police had taken action against 200 illegal boats, whose owners, if identified and convicted, could face a fine, jail term and a 10-year ban from fishing.

Since 2015, Thailand has been granted a yellow flag for “shortcomings in its fisheries monitoring, control and sanctioning systems”. If the EU were to issue a red flag, Thailand’s seafood exports to Europe will be banned, which could cause serious economic damages because Thailand exports more than THB 30 billion (USD 919 million) of fisheries products to Europe.

Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, who is in charge of security affairs, for a brief discussion on IUU fishing with EU committee on fisheries in 2014

To protect such a key national sector, in 2016 a new Fisheries Law was passed and from this new legal basis, a new monitoring, control and surveillance system with a fully-trained team of inspectors has been set up. New inspections and patrols at port and at sea have been deployed and robust labour monitoring mechanisms have been developed to protect against child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.

Furthermore, rigorous law enforcement and deterrent sanctions have been put into force; several key international fisheries agreements have been signed; and, finally, a new enhanced traceability system has been devised for the whole fisheries supply chain.

“We remain steadfast in our ambition to make Thailand IUU-free and recognize that much hard work lies ahead to both attain and retain this status. Through the efforts and progress of the last few years, supported by the EU, we see that it is possible to comply with all international laws and standards,” pointed out Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya.

The official stated that they still need to safeguard that compliance and continue the fight against IUU fishing with the EU, regional partners and the international community.

Related articles: 

- Govt's initiative to boost migrant crews benefits commercial sector
- NGOs urge Thai Govt to strengthen efforts to eliminate labour abuse from fishing industry
- Govt seeks to increase migrant workforce legally

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