Thailand is making significant progress in its fight against illegal fishing
Towards IEE-free fisheries: Thailand is making significant progress in its fight against illegal fishing, argues Chatchai Sarikulya.
Over the last three years, Thailand and the European Union have been working intensively together in the framework of a dialogue to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Through this fruitful cooperation, the EU has shown real commitment to working with us - in a spirit of mutual respect and close partnership - to combat IUU fishing and to protect global marine resources.
This is a commitment we are reciprocating as we seek to move towards a more sustainable, responsible and IUU-free fisheries sector. We believe that we are building a better, more sustainable future for our fisheries industry and for all those fishermen that depend on it.
Thailand is one of the world’s biggest seafood and fisheries processors and exporters. We need to therefore ensure that we have the world-class IUU and labour scorecard to match our market footprint.
Since 2015, we have reformed and overhauled our fisheries sector and we continue to make this a priority of the Thai government. Thailand has allocated more than €75m on action to combat IUU. We believe we have successfully reformed our fisheries management and governance system to fulfil and comply with international laws and standards.
The 2015 legal and policy framework, the Royal Fisheries Ordinance and related implementation regulations was the first fundamental step. Our authorities have solid tools to identify and work with international partners on curbing illegal fishing activities.
These include overhauling our fleet structure, establishing the Fisheries Monitoring Centre, developing monitoring control and surveillance capacity and equipping our fleets with vessels monitoring systems, developing an advanced traceability system covering the whole fisheries supply chain and, most importantly, strengthening law enforcement by involving thousands of well-trained officials and inspectors.
We are committed to our country’s IUU-free goals of ensuring that all fishery products harvested, imported or exported to the EU and world markets, as well as those consumed or processed in Thailand, do not stem from IUU activities. We will fight against IUU fishing with the EU and international community.
We are applying effective and modern technology to monitor fishing activities. Our border controls have also been strengthened to ensure that no IUU fish enter Thailand or infiltrate into our production chain.
Effective law enforcement and deterrent sanctions have also been applied. Our aim is to combat, prevent and eliminate access of IUU fish into our country in order to ensure sustainability of international seafood supply chain.
Thailand has adopted the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement, Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, and Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing Agreement (PSMA) in 2016-2017.
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