'Outdated' Netflix documentary sparks ire
The Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre (Thai-MECC) on Thursday protested against a controversial Netflix documentary, saying it featured outdated information about Thailand's fishing industry.
The documentary, Seaspiracy, addressed the dire consequences of commercial fishing on the local ecology, as well as human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
It premiered on Netflix last month and just four days after it was released, it had already made it to the streaming service's Top 10 lists in more than 32 countries, including the UK and US.
Seaspiracy focused squarely on Thailand, especially during the six minutes from 1:06:00-1:12:00 that portrayed illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and forced labour and human trafficking in the country's seafood supply chain.
Thai-MECC spokesman Rear Adm Pokkhrong Monthatphalin said the information featured in the film was "outdated" and the Thai government had toiled for years to clean up the fisheries industry since its IUU practices came to light in 2015.
The Thai authorities have been trying to contact the documentary's producers to inspect the country's current fishery practices for themselves.
Rear Adm Pokkhrong said Thailand's commitment to ending IUU practices had been recognised by the international community, evidenced by the fact the European Union (EU) had removed it from yellow-card status in 2019. The same regulators went further, saying Thailand had aligned its legal and administrative systems with its international obligations to fight IUU fishing.
He said that in 2019 Thailand became the first Asian country to commit to basic decent standards for those working in the fishing industry. The US's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report had also applauded Thailand for taking great strides to tackle human trafficking in recent years.
Seaspiracy's release has been especially unfortunate -- early this month, the Seafood Working Group published its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, urging the US State Department to downgrade Thailand to the Tier 2 Watchlist again due to a worsening worker rights situation during Covid-19.
Rear Adm Pokkhrong said Thai authorities remained dedicated to promoting sustainable fishing and ending human trafficking in the seafood industry.