C188 'a done deal', Adul warns

C188 'a done deal', Adul warns

Protests against the government's plan to ratify the International Labour Organisation's 2007 Work in Fishing Convention, or C188, have not swayed Labour Minister Adul Sangsingkeo, who insists he will not bow to such pressure.

Speaking after he chaired a meeting with security agencies on Monday to deal with what he described as a "mob" of fishermen, Pol Gen Adul said he would welcome only their representatives to voice their concerns.

Fishery operators last Thursday gathered in front of the Labour Ministry, asking it to review the ratification plan. A similar petition was made with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was asked to exercise his sweeping powers under Section 44 of the previous interim charter to put a brake on the move.

C188 is intended to improve the working conditions of fishing crews, including their lodgings and welfare packages.

But critics say some of the measures will cause them to shoulder a heavy financial burden at a time when they have been exhausted by the state's stricter rules to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The European Union, a key importer of Thai marine products, issued the country with a yellow card, or final warning, earlier and insisted it must clean up the industry or possibly see its processed seafood banned in Europe.

"The government will not bow to unfair pressure [from the mob] because we have been acting in a fair manner so far," Pol Gen Adul said.

There is unlikely to be a change of heart as the move to endorse C188 has already been approved by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

The convention will improve the country's image and boost fisheries exports, Pol Gen Adul added. Exports now stand at around 200 billion baht a year.

Pol Gen Adul insisted the impact of C188 would be limited as the international pact will only apply to large fishing vessels weighing at least 30 gross tonnes.

His ministry will meet with state agencies to discuss the issue tomorrow. Representatives of fishery associations have also been invited.

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