H.E. Mr. Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives addresses in the press conference held at the Centara Grand Hotel, Ladprao, Bangkok on January 14, 2015 regarding the New Fisheries Act and Thailand Roadmap on Eliminating an IUU Fishing. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has developed the Roadmap or Implementation Plan on Eliminating an IUU Fishing for guiding authorities concerned to mutually eliminate an IUU fishing. The implementation plan has been approved by the Steering Committee on Human Trafficking and IUU Fishing chaired by the Prime Minister on 7 January 2015.
The IUU Fishing Roadmap consists of the following 6 action plans:
1. Fishing vessel registration and fishing licensing
2. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS)
3. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)
4. Improving on Traceability System
5. New Fisheries Act and its secondary legislation
6. National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU Fishing (National Plan of Action on IUU Fishing or NPOA – IUU)
The plan covers the elimination and prevention of IUU Fishing operated by Thai vessels both in the Thai waters and in overseas including the preclusion of fish products derived from IUU fishing to be imported into Thailand.
Details on Thailand Roadmap on Eliminating IUU Fishing
1. Fishing vessels registration and fishing licensing All fishing vessel and gears must be registered and fishing operation must be upon license. Integration among competent authorities namely; the Department of Fisheries, Marine Department and the Department of Provincial Administration has already started since January 12, 2015. For those additional fishing vessel and gears to be registered will be completely implemented by mobile unit in the level of district, adding up to 112 mobile units, covering 23 coastal provincial areas. Moreover, survey on 46,467 registered fishing vessels have been undertaken to insist their existence. The implementation has simultaneously started in 23 coastal provincial areas from 12 January until 28 February 2015 with the purpose of registering 3,000 fishing vessels and granting 15,000-17,000 fishing license. All kind of fishing vessels and fishing gears intended to be operated could be registered and declared at the mobile unit. Besides, ports and landing sites will be survey and mapped, data of fishing vessels and important ports will be collected for contributing the appropriate control of fishing vessels and the formulation of plan for controlling IUU fishing at port.
2. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) To enhance efficiency of monitoring and surveillance of marine fishing by establishing 18 MCS Centers at central and regional areas for coordinating and integrating with other concerned authorities, increasing duration of monitoring and surveillance at sea stringently as well as improving and repairing surveillance ship. In addition, the Marine Department, Marine Police Division, the Royal Thai Navy and the Ministry of Labor have worked integratedly on monitoring and surveillance for 456 times/year. In the near future, 26 of Port in – Port out Centers will be established. The Center will be responsible for inspection on port in – port out control for fishing vessels of 30 ton gross size and over. The centers will be launched starting April 2015 on wards when the new Fisheries Act enters into force.
3. Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) VMS Control Center will be established and being able to operated by early March 2015. Before new Fishery Act shall be entered into force, approximately 475 entrepreneurs will voluntarily install VMS on large – scale fishing vessels and oversea fishing vessels flying Thai flag reporting the location of their fishing vessels to the DOF VMS Center since March 2015. The fishing vessels of over 60 ton gross size (3,500 vessels) are imposed to install VMS under the maritime regulation of Marine Department, while 30 – 60 ton gross size (4,240 vessels) will be under new Fishery Act. It is expected to have these fishing vessels to comply with VMS installation requirement during April to June 2015. In order to enhance efficiency in control and regulate fishing ground, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will launch linking system among VMS centers with 60 surveillance fishery patrol vessels for involving operation and data among patrol vessels– VMS centers – fishing ports.
4. Improving on Traceability System To efficiently stringent the whole chain traceability system of fishing vessels, landing site, processing plants and exporters, educate officers concerned, entrepreneurs and fishing vessel master to use Fishing Logbook, MCPD and to strict on randomly inspect fish at landing sites including develop and enable fish inspection office to inspect fishing vessels from other countries in line with port state measures. To improve traceability effectively, collaboration among trade partners concerning the exchange of fishing data of fishing vessels of the country of origin, acceleration of issuing catch certificate including verification of information in catch certificate and import documents, etc. are needed. In case of the Thai fishing vessels operating overseas such as PNG, Thailand will establish and seek agreement with PNG within February 2015 in order to inspect fishing data of those Thai fishing vessels.
5. New Fisheries Act and its secondary legislation The new Fisheries Act has already been approved by the National Legislative Assembly and will be entered into force within 60 days after promulgated. The Department of Fisheries and authorities concerned shall draft and urgently legislate secondary legislation in a month after the effectiveness of the Fisheries Act. For the time being, the new Fishery Act has been submitted for the King’s signature for promulgating prior the date of enter into force.
6. National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU Fishing (NPOA – IUU) NPOA – IUU is the implementation plan that Thailand should launch, as being a flag state and coastal state to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU Fishing. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives by the Department of Fisheries will urgently improve the draft NPOA-IUU in the context proposed by the EU and complete it within February 2015. The Department of Fisheries request authorities concerned for support the formulation of NPOA-IUU in order to practically apply it.
To implement according to IUU Fishing elimination plan, full cooperation from governmental agencies is needed. In this regard, at the meeting on 12 January 2015, the Deputy Prime Minister (Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan) requested for full cooperation of authorities concerned comprising the Marine Department, the Department of Provincial Administration, the Marine Police Division, the Royal Thai Police, the Royal Thai Navy, Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Center, the Customs Department, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security in integratedly supporting the implementation of the IUU Fishing elimination plan formulated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.