Thailand has rigorously overhauled and improved its fisheries management and control systems since the Task Force was established and it has now been rewarded with a ‘green card’ from the EU for fisheries exports under the EU regulation to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The EU regulation aims to end IUU fishing by requiring countries which export seafood to the EU to meet certain standards for fisheries control and management.
Thailand was issued with a formal warning (yellow card) in 2015 and had it not acted to reform its fisheries management and controls, it could have been banned from exporting to the EU entirely (red card).
Since the yellow carding, Thailand has taken significant steps to improve its fisheries management and exert greater controls on its own vessels as well as foreign vessels landing in Thai ports.
These reforms include passing laws which empower greater control, enforcement and surveillance of fishing vessels, as well as higher penalties and sanctions for non-compliance.
This decision does not mean that there is no illegal fishing in Thailand and it is up to industry and the government to continue working together, showing that these reforms are sustainable over the long term.
The Royal Thai Government has achieved this especially through working with the private sector, including significant collaboration with the Seafood Task Force and our Vessel Behaviour Monitoring Working Group.
A major achievement has been Thailand’s stringent implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), with required risk assessment of all foreign vessels delivering fish to Thailand. As one of the largest processing countries in the world, this is critically important and Thailand has gone above and beyond the requirements for this agreement, with an inspection and traceability regime that makes it a global leader. Thailand has also focused heavily on establishing the rule of law for its own vessels, such as by reducing the number of licensed vessels, enacting closed areas where fishing is prohibited, and requiring all larger vessels to be properly monitored. These improvements came through both growing human capacity as well as through innovative use of technologies such as machine learning for risk assessments.
As one of the largest seafood processors and exporters in the world, Thailand’s robust fisheries reform has the opportunity to make a global impact on the sustainability of marine resources.
Through continued focus on improvement, Thailand will be a leader in fisheries by showing the power of political will, partnerships, and technology.
Bob Miller – Sub-Group Head #4 – Vessel Behaviour Monitoring