Ministry to amend tough fisheries law

Ministry to amend tough fisheries law

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives plans to have the fisheries law amended to help solve economic problems faced by fishermen who say their livelihoods are hurt by tough regulations.

Minister Thammanat Prompow said the ministry is aware of the concerns of fishing groups who have suffered under the Fisheries Act.

The law aims to prevent Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the kingdom, but some critics say it is too tough. The ministry has set up a committee to look into the matter, Capt Thammanat said.

He said the panel will represent the government, the business sector and civil society. It will convene for the first time this week, he said.

He said the fisheries sector is crucial in driving economic growth, contributing to about 130.3 billion baht to GDP last year. Part of that was thanks to the Department of Fisheries which helped increase fish stocks and worked with local communities to preserve marine life, he said.

According to a senior department official, the committee will look into problems affecting fishing businesses, such as high penalties for those breaking the rules.

The committee will also meet international agencies such as the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization to ensure any changes will not affect the country's commitment to combating IUU fishing.

Mongkol Sukcharoenkana, president of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, said his association supports the push for change because some regulations make it difficult to fish.

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