In a letter to the prime minister, association president Kamjorn Mongkholtriluck, said: “If the problem still persists, we estimate that Thai fishermen might have to sell over 5,000 boats that do not comply with the IUU regulations from the total of 12,000 fishing boats nationwide,” he said.
Kamjorn added that in the past eight months around 3,000 fishing boats had to stop working, resulting in loss of at least Bt10 billion income per month. “This, coupled with the impact of Covid-19, has resulted in loss of supply to the seafood industry with estimated value at over Bt300 billion,” he said.
“Fishermen who have to stop working due to IUU regulations want the government to help relax the regulations, or at least buy the boats from them at 100 per cent price to help them start a career in other fields.
“Furthermore, the association wants the government to fast-track loans to fishermen from Government Savings Bank (GSB) and Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC). The government had promised us Bt5.3 billion a few months ago, but so far the loans are still not ready for disbursement,” he added.
“In the letter, we put forth three demands: amend the Fishery Decree BE2558 with participation of the association’s representatives; establish a national committee chaired by the prime minister to solve fishery problems; dissolve the current committees on illegal fishery and fishery labour,” said Kamjorn. “If there is no response from the government in the next 7-10 days, we will march to Government House to demand a meeting with Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha directly.”
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, said that the ministry had received the letter and would present the demands to the prime minister within the next week. He also said he had contacted the GSB and BAAC to arrange loans for fishermen as soon as possible.
Published : August 29, 2020
By : THE NATION