#Thailand – European Commission removes “yellow card” to recognise return to sustainable fishing

| January 8, 2019

Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand Sarikulya Chatchai and European Commissioner with responsibility for fisheries Karmenu Chatchai

The European Commission has taken Thailand off its list of countries involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. As the world’s largest import market for fisheries products the EU bears particular responsibility for ensuring that fishing is carried  out in a sustainable way, writes Catherine Feore.

The EU first introduced a so-called “yellow card” warning that Thailand was not doing enough to tackle the problem in April 2015. The yellow card is the first step in a process  that could lead to a “red card” that could mean the country is labelled as “non-cooperating” and a loss of access to the EU’s lucrative market.

Today (8 January) the Commission acknowledges that Thailand has successfully addressed the shortcomings in its fisheries legal and administrative systems.

European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing damages global fish stocks but it also hurts the people living from the sea, especially those already vulnerable to poverty. Fighting illegal fishing is therefore a priority for the EU. I am excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight.”

European Commission: Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Thailand has amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law and reinforced the mechanisms of control of the national fishing fleet and enhanced its monitoring, control and surveillance systems. This includes remote monitoring of fishing activities and a robust scheme of inspections at port.

The Commission recognised  the efforts demonstrated by Thailand to tackle human trafficking and to improve labour conditions in the fishing sector. Thailand has recently announced the ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention on Work in Fishing, the first country in Asia to do so.

Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand – Chatchai, Sarikulya said that aside from ratifying conventions, the Ministry of Labour had a clear plan for addressing labour issues. He said that they are determined to eradicate child labour and illegal labour. Vella added that these issues were being addressed through the EU-Thailand Labour Dialogue.

Background

The global value of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated at €10-20 billion per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally a year, corresponding to at least 15% of world catches. The EU is the world’s biggest importer of fisheries products.

Fighting illegal fishing is part of the EU’s commitment to ensure sustainable use of the sea and its resources, under the common fisheries policy. It is also an important pillar of the EU’s ocean governance strategy, aiming to improve the international governance of the oceans.

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