Prawit: EU extends fishing cleanup grace period

Prawit: EU extends fishing cleanup grace period

Fishing boats dock on Mae Klong River in Samut Songkhram province on April 1, 2016, the first day of a new fishing round which requires commercial finishing licences and papers. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Fishing boats dock on Mae Klong River in Samut Songkhram province on April 1, 2016, the first day of a new fishing round which requires commercial finishing licences and papers. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The European Union has given Thailand another six months to end illegal fishing, said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, over a year after Brussels threatened Bangkok with a trade ban.

The fishing industry employs more than 300,000 people, many of them migrant workers from neighbouring countries who are often subject to ill treatment.

The industry's reputation has been tarnished by instances of human trafficking to meet manpower demand, forced labour and violence.

The European Union gave Thailand a "yellow card" in April 2015 for failing to prevent illegal and unregulated fishing catch entering the supply chain and ending up in seafood exports to Europe. The warning required Thailand to clean up in six months or face a trade ban.

"Good news," Gen Prawit told reporters on Monday. "We won't get the red card... They have delayed this because we have always cooperated."

The EU in Thailand declined to comment, citing the confidential nature of meetings between its officials and Thai authorities.

A Thai team went to Brussels to discuss progress last week. Since receiving the warning from the EU, Thailand has instigated new licence and monitoring systems for fishing vessels, the director general of the Thai Fisheries Department, Adisorn Promthep, told Reuters last week in Brussels.

The government has also tightened regulations and imposed limitations on the catch, Mr Adisorn said.

The EU yellow card had been a "wakeup call" to deal with an obsolete fisheries law, he added.

Authorities were also making more regular checks on vessels and demanded employers give workers written contracts, he said. That was to prevent labour abuses and human traffickers selling people on to boats, Mr Adisorn said.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (16)

Thai GDP expected to grow 3.5%-4.5% in 2022 despite Omicron - FinMin

The economy is still expected to grow 3.5%-4.5% this year driven by fiscal policy, exports and investment, despite an outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant remaining a challenge, the finance minister said on Thursday.

16:23

+8,129 Covid

Daily figures for new infections are up slightly, as is the number of coronavirus-related deaths, but the government remains confident the health system can handle it.

15:45

Controls eased

The number of Covid-19 control orange zones will be reduced from next Monday, and drinking hours extended at approved eateries, as the Covid-19 situation improves, a senior health official says.

15:03