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MFA Press Release: Thailand is Confident of the IUU-Free Tuna Industry

On 28 – 30 May 2018, Thailand, in cooperation with the Intergovernmental Organisation for Marketing Information and Technical Advisory Services for Fishery Products in the Asia and Pacific Region (INFOFISH), the Thai Tuna Industry Association, and the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations including the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), and the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC), co-hosted the 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition in Bangkok. This is the seventh time that Thailand has been selected as the host of the event, which was attended by over 600 participants from the tuna industry sector from 70 countries.

The Royal Thai Government reiterated its commitment at the conference to further the quality development of its tuna products according to international standards, and tackle any IUU fishing. During the past 3 years, Thailand has made remarkable progress through amending the fisheries law, developing the traceability system which covers the entire tuna-processing chain, and forging agreements with trade partner countries, from which Thailand imports frozen tuna, to ensure that raw material for the processing is derived from fish legally caught and from fishing operators that adhere to legal labour practices.

The Thai Tuna Industry Association attaches great importance to encourage its members to use catches which are brought in legally and traceable in accordance with international practices and Thai laws. The Association also stands against the use of child labour, forced labour, and human trafficking by encouraging its members to apply ethical codes of conduct in their factories and throughout the entire production chain, and supporting the Government’s effective, fair, strict, and serious enforcement of laws upon all vessels practicing illegal fishing. It also supports the establishment of employees’ welfare committees to promote relations between employers and employees including migrant workers with a view to improve the working conditions and upgrade the quality of life of workers. It is notable that such practices of the Thai Tuna Industry Association have been recognised by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights which paid a visit to Thailand in late March this year.

As Thailand is the top importer of frozen tuna and one of the world’s largest exporters of tuna products, Thailand is ready to join other countries and international organisations in promoting sustainable fishing. In addition to the 15th INFOFISH World Tuna Trade Conference and Exhibition, Thailand previously hosted the 22nd Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) during 21 – 25 May 2018 in Bangkok to demonstrate its constructive role in reviewing the conservation measures and the management of tuna stocks and tuna-like species, along with showcasing the upgrading of Thailand’s entire tuna industry towards sustainability