Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya has talked about the country’s commitment to making its fishing industry globally competitive and both sustainable and free of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) activity.
Question How far along is Thailand on the road to achieving its ambitions for sustainable, IUU-free fisheries?
Answer Over the last three years, Thailand and the European Union have been working intensively together to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Thailand. With this fruitful cooperation, in which the EU has shown real commitment to helping Thailand solve many difficult challenges, we are much farther ahead on the road to becoming IUU-free and achieving our sustainability goal. With more cooperation and continued hard work we are confident that we can achieve our goals and have a globally competitive, and recognized, fisheries industry.
Question How important is the fisheries industry for Thailand?
Answer Our fisheries industry is a key national sector and one that we will continue to invest in. We are the world’s third biggest seafood and fisheries exporter, and we have over 2 million people employed in our domestic fisheries industry spanning the entire 3,219 kilometers of our coastline. These jobs, many of which are found in rural areas of our country, are vitally important for us. Simply put, our fisheries industry is a key national sector and one that we will continue to invest in.
Question Can you give us examples of the reforms Thailand has had to make to meet its goals?
Answer The basis for our reforms is a new Fisheries Law that was passed in 2016 this was the start of our journey. Since then, and from this new legal basis, we have set up and operationalized a new monitoring, control and surveillance system with a fullytrained team of inspectors. We have also developed new inspections and patrols at port and at sea and implemented robust labor monitoring mechanisms to protect against child labor, forced labor and human trafficking. In addition, we have put into place rigorous law enforcement and deterrent sanctions; signed and joined several key international fisheries agreements; and, finally, deployed a new enhanced traceability system for the whole fisheries supply chain. This has been the largest-ever overhaul for our fisheries industry.
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