Fisheries associations voice concerns on illegal fishing eradication practices

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SAMUT SONGKHRAM, 22 June 2015 – Ten fisheries association have participated in an urgent meeting to adapt the current illegal fishing eradication practices into a more practical approach.

The Department of Fisheries Director-General Joompol Sanguansin and the delegation from related agencies had joined in the meeting of 10 fisheries associations today, regarding the eradication of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Thailand.

At this meeting, the fisheries associations reported obstacles and impracticality in previous policies that were geared to solve the IUU fishing to authorities, and requested to adjust some policies to enhance practicality.

The associations had reported, that the policy demanding ships weighing over 30 tonnes to report their port-in and port-out information, has recently caused vessels with inaccurate licenses to be classified as illegal, preventing them from sailing and has affected the industry. The Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing’s directive on compiling a population survey of vessel crews within 24 June 2015 has also proven to be impractical.

The associations had requested to extend the population survey period for an additional one month, and has requested for the authority to issue guidelines in amending the fishing vessel’s licenses, for a more accurate portrayal of each vessel’s information. Government agencies have also been asked to expedite their task of issuing relevant licenses on time, as the entire process has been subject to significant delays.

The Deputy President of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand of the 10 fisheries associations Mongkol Sukcharoenkana has said that if the request by the associations were not met within 1 July 2015, the associations will suspend all fishing activities of all fishing vessels nationwide until the matter is resolved.

Thailand has been issued with the yellow card warning by the European Union, regarding its IUU fishing practices, which has affected the industry causing damage worth hundred-thousands of billions baht of fishery products export. Thailand is currently the world’s third largest fisheries exporter.