Thailand has declared the prevention, deterrence, and elimination of the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a national agenda, and has pursued the reform of the entire fisheries system with a view to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries.
In order to showcase Thailand’s commitment to promoting the entire fisheries sector to be in line with international standards as well as to receive recognition from the international community, the Royal Thai Government is preparing to declare the policy of Thailand being free from IUU aquatic animals and fisheries products (IUU-free Thailand). This initiative has been adopted at the meeting of National Fisheries Committee on 25 January 2018, and is currently pending the Cabinet’s approval.
In moving towards IUU-free Thailand, Thailand has built upon the reforms of all dimensions undertaken during nearly the past 3 years, including the reform of legal framework and implementing regulations, the fisheries management limiting the fishing license issuance in compliance with the quantity of aquatic animals, the fleet management putting control over fishing vessels of all sizes and types, the monitoring, control and surveillance through port-in and port-out control, installation of vessel monitoring system, and daily inspections at seas, as well as the development of traceability system for catches from Thai-flagged vessels and foreign vessels.
To make IUU-free Thailand recognized by the international community, much remains to be done, especially the development of the Thai catch certification system to be in compliance with international standards. Thailand will join hands with the European Union for the system development, and with other flag states in verifying that the source of aquatic animals is not related to any illegal fishing activity. Discussions with other countries on this matter have already started. Moreover, workers on the fishing vessels must be legal and protected under the universal principle.
Thailand’s preparation for the IUU-free Thailand declaration is another step along the Government’s path to ensuring the sustainability of the fisheries sector in the long run, and to mobilize the fisheries reform to be continuously carried out regardless of the change in the Government.