THE EUROPEAN Union (EU) will assess Thailand’s performance against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing again this month to see if it should lift the yellow flag against the Kingdom’s fishing sector.
“We will produce evidence showing that we have seriously enforced laws against IUU fishing problems,” Defence Ministry’s spokesman Pol Lt-General Kongcheep Tantravanich said yesterday.
He was speaking after emerging from a meeting with the steering committee on reforms for security, inequality reduction, agriculture, natural resources and environment.
Chaired by Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also defence minister, the meeting learned that 10,771 of some 20,000 fishing trawlers in Thailand have already undergone proper registration and have complied with international laws. Updates also showed that the Marine Department and police had taken action against 200 illegal boats. Their owners, if identified and convicted, could face a fine, jail term and a 10-year ban from fishing.
Since 2015, Thailand has been slapped with 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. This could cause serious economic damages because Thailand exports more than Bt30 billion of fisheries products to Europe.