On 19 January 2018, Mr. Adisorn Promthep, Director-General of the Department of Fisheries and Mr. Jirut Wisanjit, Director-General of the Marine Department, announced at the press briefing that a new phase for the fishing license application for the fishing year 2018-2019 (1 April 2018 – 31 March 2020) will commence from 20 January to 20 February 2018. To ensure the continuity in fishing businesses, commercial fishing vessels operators are encouraged to submit their applications at any district offices and district fisheries offices in coastal areas, or the Department of Fisheries. The fishing licenses issued for the last fishing year will soon expire, and any fishing vessel found without the valid license from 1 April 2018 onwards will be prosecuted under both the criminal court and the administration sanction under the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E. 2558 (2015) and its revised version.
In this fishing year, the Fisheries Department, the Marine Department, and the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) have integrated their work processes with a view to increasing effectiveness of measures on IUU fishing prevention by amending the regulation to synchronize the expiry dates of both the fishing license and the vessel license. Furthermore, the fishing vessel owners could apply for the fishing license and the vessel registration via the one-stop service at the district fisheries offices in coastal areas or Bangkok Provincial Fisheries Office (in lieu of the previous practice, having to apply for each separately at the marine office and the district fisheries office).
After submitting the application, the interdisciplinary team from the Port-in Port-out (PIPO) Center or the tripartite inspection team (Fisheries Department, Marine Department, and CCCIF) will conduct the inspection in the area where the vessel is located. The integration of work processes of related agencies will not only facilitate the fishing sector, but also improve the quality of the fishing vessels database to be in line with the international standard. Applicants who are found with the record of violating the Fisheries Ordinance, and have been prosecuted less than 5 years since the final verdict, will not be granted the fishing license in Thai territorial waters.
The new phase of the fishing license issuance has taken into account the quantity of aquatic animals to be caught on a sustainable basis. An assessment of the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of aquatic animals catch is conducted with data collected from logbooks, random vessel inspections, fishing duration from PIPO records, and catch records from all types of fishing gears in the past year, and through the consultation with MSY experts from abroad in every single process to ensure that the MSY calculation will most fit Thailand’s state of aquatic animals, provide detailed and accurate results, and meet the international standard.
The Royal Thai Government is committed to promoting sustainable fishery as well as to combating the IUU fishing in Thailand. The reform measures undertaken during the past 2 years have transformed Thai fisheries from “open access” to “limit access”, regulating under the issuance of fishing license and vessel license with respect to the quantity of aquatic animals, fishing gear effectiveness, and impact on environment.