Agriculture ministry approves master plan for fishery workers

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BANGKOK, July 5 —  The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry as well as state officials and the public sector involved in Thailand’s fishery industry on Saturday approved a master plan designed to solve problems for workers engaged in the industry.

 

The master plan was agreed on only two weeks after the US downgraded the kingdom, after accusing Thailand of allowing forced labour and human trafficking to remain unresolved.

The plan was approved by representatives of state officials and the public sector during a meeting chaired by Permanent Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives Chavalit Chukajorn.

Mr Chavalit said after the meeting ended that participants approved the master plan, proposed by the Ministry’s Fisheries Department.

The plan would be forwarded to a policy committee for further consideration.

The master plan contained guidelines for good labour practices and laid out regulations for Thai fishing trawlers prohibiting violations of fishing laws and human trafficking, he said.

These two issues were urgent and have to be implemented immediately, he said.

Other issues include a plan to speed up registering of migrant workers in the fishing industry, providing support for inspection of trawlers  and workers, providing training to concerned officials, and to boost confidence for Thai fishing products  overseas, said Mr Chavalit.

Mongkol Sukcharoenkana, vice president of Thai Fisheries Association, said that the approved roadmap was a fine plan and contains proactive measures, as Thailand has been attacked without response in the past.

On June 20, Washington downgraded Thailand in its annual report on Trafficking in Persons as it dropped the country  to “Tier 3” after holding the kingdom on the Tier 2 warning list for four consecutive years.

The US has accused five Thai industries – shrimp, textiles, sugarcane, pornographic materials and fisheries – of using child and forced labor.