Khlong Yai fishermen threaten to idle boats

Khlong Yai fishermen threaten to idle boats

Photo by Apichart Jinakul
Photo by Apichart Jinakul

The fisheries association in Trat's Khlong Yai district has threatened to stop work on July 1, the deadline set by the government for all fishing boats to register and comply with the EU's illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing rules.

Amornsak Worawichitpong, the association chairman, announced on Thursday that about 800 fishing boats would be idled because the government has announced that boats that have not met all the IUU requirements will face sanctions.

The Thai rules require that boats be properly registered, have legal fishing licences, have fishing gear matching the type it had at time of registration, and have required monitoring equipment, such as a Vessel Monitoring System.

He said under these requirements, 90% of the fishing boats under the association are illegal. If they go out, crews would be arrested and slapped with many charges and be subject to penalties, including a fine of 100,000 baht.

Therefore, it was not possible for the fishing boats to meet those requirements by July 1. Thus, fishermen have no other choice but to stop going to sea. That will affect fishery-related businesses in Khlong Yai district and Trat as a whole, Mr Amornsak said.

"The government wants to appease European countries, which buy only 30-billion-baht worth of fishery products per year from Thailand. But this would cause considerable damage to the Thai fishing industry, which is worth more than 100 billion baht.

"The fishing businesses in Trat and Khlong Yai want the government to understand and instead get trade deals with China or other countries instead," he said.

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