Fisheries leaders threaten protests in the capital
The National Fisheries Association of Thailand is threatening protests in the capital if the new government ignores its demand to revise strict rules and regulations on trawlers and their crews.
"If these laws aren't changed, the fishermen will head to Bangkok and camp out in front of the Agriculture Ministry," association president, Mongkol Sukcharoenkhana, said on Wednesday.
These rules are resulting in a shortage of workers in the fishing sector, forcing many operators out of business, he said.
Association members are due to meet at its general assembly at the Talay Thai wholesale seafood market in Samut Sakhon's Muang district on June 28, he said.
They plan to discuss the problems which fishing operators have been putting up with over the past five years since the government began implementing measures aimed at curbing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, he said.
They will also seek remedies to these problems and draft a proposal for the government to compensate them, he said.
On Jan 8 this year, the European Union (EU) announced the lifting of its yellow card warning in recognition of the substantial progress Thailand has made in tackling IUU fishing since 2015.
The yellow card prompted Thailand to overhaul its fishing industry to meet international standards so as to avoid a threatened EU ban on Thai seafood imports.
Adisorn Phromthep, director-general of the Department of Fisheries, said the reforms were necessary as they should bring sustainability to the country's fishing sector.
They are also crucial to ensure transparency and traceability in every fishing process, he said.
To help ease the burden on fishing operators who have to provide paperwork to comply with requirements, the department has developed an electronic system called "Fisheries Single Window".
Since all fishery products are recorded with Marine Catch Purchasing Document numbers, buyers can determine where a particular product was caught, by which trawler, when, and who the crew were, Mr Adisorn said.
Thai fishing operators are buying some fishery products from neighbouring countries which are still being monitored for IUU problems, he said.