WE ARE PUSHING FOR KEY CHANGES TO BOTH FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR LEGISLATION BY MEANS OF A LIST OF TASK FORCE ROYAL THAI GOVERNMENT ASKS
A key component to long-term Task Force success in Thailand is the quality of legal reform by the Royal Thai Government.
As part of our work, we are therefore pushing for key changes to both fisheries management and labour legislation by means of a list of Royal Thai Government Asks.
If adequately implemented and enforced, these Asks will have a positive and lasting impact to sourcing practices across all industries in Thailand and will significantly reduce risks of slavery and human trafficking in all Thai supply chains.
There is also a clear imperative to localize and entrench the ability to monitor and support reforms, progress and working practices within the Thai seafood sector across Thai organisations, avoiding an unrealistic and uneconomic over-reliance on foreign business interests and western NGOs to oversee this situation.
About the Marine Catch Purchasing Document (MCPD) & related Instruments.
The Marine Catch Purchase Document is designed to provide assurance to buyers of seafood that the fish has come from legally registered vessels operating in accordance with Thai labour regulations. Underpinning the issuance of an MCPD is the confirmation by the Thai Authorities that a vessel has:
- A valid fishing license issued by the Department of Fisheries (DoF)
- A valid vessel license issued by the Department of Transport (DoT)
- Submitted port-in and port-out documents for the crew onboard the vessel
- Submitted fishing log book
The MCPD system is currently applicable to vessels >30 GT but as a task force, seafood caught from vessel of >20 GT is a significant portion. Over time it is expected that an MCPD or equivalent instrument is used to capture ALL seafood movements within Thailand whether from small in-shore vessels, large distant water fleets or transshipped by water or land.
Fishing Quotas based on robust science
In a nutshell, fisheries management is the active control & management of the amount of fish taken out of the sea rather than the management of the fish biomass itself.
Fisheries management works by estimating the total biomass of a species/ group of species in the sea and agreeing what percentage of fish can be removed per annum – usually called the Total Allowable Catch (TAC). To maintain fish stocks sometimes 40% of the total biomass is allowed to be taken and to rebuild stock perhaps 20% of the total is taken. The level of removal must be informed by science and the concern with Thailand is that due to limited science, fishery management decisions are being taken without appropriate calculations.
Where the fish stock crosses boundaries and straddles different countries’ jurisdiction or is exploited by different fleets such as the in-shore and off-shore fleets then the TAC is split into quotas.
The Task Force ask is that the Thai Government recognizes the need for TACs and Quotas that are based on science undertaken in partnership with universities their domestic fishing industry and regional government rather than in isolation.
© Seafood Task Force 2016. Formerly Shrimp Sustainable Supply Chain Task Force. All rights reserved.