Govt 'committed' to sustainable fishing

Govt 'committed' to sustainable fishing

Prawit demands sector be kept clean

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Friday urged all authorities concerned to maintain their efforts in curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and strictly enforce the laws to tackle forced labour and human trafficking in the sector.

Maj Gen Patchasak Patirupanont, an assistant spokesman for Gen Prawit, said the deputy premier emphasised the government's commitment to stamp out illegal fishing activities and promote sustainable fishing during a meeting of the national committee on fisheries policy.

The committee yesterday approved the 2020-2022 fisheries management plan, which was designed to ensure the development of a more sustainable fishing and fisheries sector and the second national plan of action on IUU (NPOA-IUU), which was revised to cover all aspects of fishing activities, said Maj Gen Patchasak.

He said the committee also endorsed measures that would ensure a fair, transparent and swift processing of IUU and related cases of forced labour and human trafficking.

According to Maj Gen Patchasak, the committee yesterday was provided with an update on multiple measures taken to fulfil obligations to fight against IUU fishing and related issues.

The Marine Department was speeding up the registration of small-scale fishing boats. Based on the department's latest survey on May 20 this year, there were 56,087 of them.

He said the committee was also updating the drafting of guidelines for compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) Import Rule of the United States.

The committee also reportedly acknowledged the granting of funds worth more than 2.82 billion baht to rehabilitate the livelihoods of 188,134 fishermen and the extension of work permits for migrant workers in the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government's attempt to overhaul the management of the fisheries system began in 2015 when the European Union flagged Thailand for IUU activity and threatened to ban its seafood imports unless improvements were made.

Many measures were implemented including the establishment of Pipo centres, the introduction of vessel monitoring and traceability systems, adoption of Common Risk Assessment and the use of Maximum Sustainable Yield initiatives to limit the amount of seafood that can be routinely harvested to avoid long-term depletion.

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