The Council of Ministers approved, on 3rd November 2015, a new fisheries legislation and two important plans aimed to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and promote sustainable management of living marine resources. The new legislation amounts to a fundamental reform of the legal framework governing Thai fisheries. It outlines key objectives and principles to oversee Thailand’s new fisheries policy. It empowers competent authorities to drive the policy and implement fisheries regulations. It introduces proportionate and deterrent sanctions to combat IUU fishing and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the fisheries sector.
Taken together, the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, the Marine Fisheries Management Plan, and the National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing (NPOA-IUU) mark a milestone in Thailand’s effort to reform its fisheries in line with international standards.
Speaking after the Council of Ministers’ meeting, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to fighting against IUU fishing and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the fisheries sector. Having declared these issues a national agenda, the Government is sparing no effort to address them.
While notable and concrete progress has been achieved over the past several months, there remain challenges that need to be tackled. The new fisheries law and management plan will strengthen the capacity of Thai authorities to control fishing activities and manage fisheries resources for the long-term benefit of the Thai fishing communities, while safeguarding the confidence of global consumers in Thai fisheries products. An emphasis is placed on regulating commercial fishing vessels above 60 gross tonnages. Sanctions are applied strictly in case of non-compliance.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged that IUU fishing is linked to TIP and forced labour in the fisheries sector. He stated that all actors, including government officials, business owners and workers, need to deepen the joint effort to fight TIP and crack down on trafficking networks. He also instructed the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security to lead the fight against TIP and look after the wellbeing of victims of trafficking.
European Union Division, Department of European Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand
3 November 2015