The Thai government attaches high priority to combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. We are committed to addressing overfishing and promoting responsible and sustainable fishing in line with international standards. Substantive progress has thus been made in the fight against IUU fishing.
The Prime Minister has set up the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) to drive major reforms in Thai fisheries management. All agencies concerned, as well as non-governmental stakeholders, are represented at the CCCIF.
A number of concrete steps have been taken/ are being taken to strengthen Thailand’s fisheries management and combat against IUU fishing in a comprehensive manner.
- We are improving our legal framework to comply with international standards. The revised Fisheries Act B.E. 2558 (2015) has entered into force on 27 June 2015. Under this revised law, the fisheries management scheme and official oversight of Thai fisheries sector are significantly improved to better reflect current industry realities. It also improves port-state measures, and introduces serious and deterrent sanctions, including a maximum fine of 30 million baht.
- To better address IUU fishing, we are working on further revisions of the fisheries law. The new revised Fisheries Decree is expected to be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration by September 2015.
- We are taking the necessary steps towards ratifying key international agreements, including the UN Fish Stocks Agreement and the FAO Port State Measures Agreement.
Fisheries Management Policy and NPOA-IUU
- We are formulating Fisheries Management Policy (FMP), in consultation with all stakeholders. The FMP details existing problems, clear and measurable objectives, and viable policies to ensure sustainable management of living marine resources.
- We are revising the National Plan of Action to Combat, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing (NPOA-IUU), which outlines the key strategies and clearly defined targets that will allow us to tackle IUU fishing in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) & Traceability
- We have set up 28 Port In – Port Out (PIPO) Controlling Centres in coastal provinces nationwide, operational since 6 May 2015. Fishing vessels are required to submit necessary documents and report to the PIPO Centres when they port in and port out. The establishment of PIPO Centres amongst several other measures have substantially improved monitoring, control and surveillance of Thai fisheries.
- The CCCIF has completed a nationwide survey of all fishing vessels. This survey provides the government with an up-to-date reliable data on fishing vessels, which is used in the formulation of Thailand’s fisheries management policy. Those vessels that operated without proper licenses are no longer allowed to fish. The CCCIF has also dispatched mobile units to all coastal provinces to provide training and issue licenses/certificates for fishing vessels and workers.
- As part of the measures to address overcapacity and overfishing, the government is introducing limits to the number of days that fishing is allowed for major fishing gears, namely trawls and purse seines. Fishing gears that pose a serious threat to juvenile fish, such as push nets, have been banned. These concrete measures will reduce fishing effort of the Thai fleet to a level in line with the maximum sustainable yield. They will promote rejuvenation of living marine resources.
- We are expediting the installation of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on board fishing vessels. All vessels above 30 gross tonnes are required by law to install VMS by the end of October 2015. So far about 1,600 vessels over 60 gross tonnes have installed VMS (about 60 percent of all vessels in this category).
- We are formulating the National Plan of Control and Inspection as well as action plans for improving traceability system and tackling labour problems in fishing vessels. Training on traceability issues, such as catch certificate issuance procedures and verification of imported catch certificates, were conducted for relevant officers.
- A newly developed database called “Fishing Info” is now operational. The database contains all information on fishing vessels, including vessel registration, fishing licenses and fishing workers. Seven government agencies have real-time access to this database and make use of the database to support their operations to combat IUU fishing.
Cooperation with International Partners
- We welcome positive contributions from our international partners, as we step up our efforts to combat IUU fishing and promote sustainable use of marine resources.
- To ensure the cooperation with third countries, both coastal states and flag states, bilateral agreements – Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or the Implementing Arrangement (IR) – are in the pipeline including with the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Republic of Korea, China and Taiwan.
- After the discussion on fisheries cooperation between the Thai Department of Fisheries (DOF) and the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in Singapore on 12 June 2015, an MOU between the DOF and the National Fisheries Authority of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (NFA) has been drafted and prepared for signing.
- During July 2015, the DOF sent a mission to the Philippines for discussion on fisheries cooperation. The Implementing Arrangement is prepared for signing. The DOF plans to visit Taiwan and the Republic of Korea for discussion on the bilateral cooperation.
Thinking Long Term
- We are not just focusing on short-term results. We are taking a long-term approach to ensure sustainable fishing in Thailand. This not only means legal and regulatory reforms and implementation of necessary technical measures, but also building new norms and sustainability values across Thai society.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand organised a seminar entitled “Fishing for the Future: Towards Responsible and Sustainable Fisheries in Thailand” on 7 July 2015. The seminar featured fishery experts from EU member countries, international organisations and Thai public and non-governmental sectors.
- All in all, the Royal Thai Government is serious in combating and eliminating IUU fishing. The ultimate goal is to ensure effective and sustainable management of Thai fisheries, in line with modern practices and international standards.
24 August 2015