By THE NATION
A sense of optimism could be forgiven after an EU representative yesterday expressed satisfaction with the country’s recent efforts.
Thailand in 2015 was slapped with a yellow flag for “shortcomings in its fisheries monitoring, control and sanctioning systems”.
“There has been significant progress thanks to serious government support,” said Stefaan Depypere, the European Commission’s director for International Ocean Governance and Sustainable Fisheries, yesterday.
“We have recognised the Thai government’s efforts and determination in addressing IUU on a continued basis,” he said.
During the past few years, Thai authorities have taken seriously the issues raised by the IUU. If the EU were to issue a red flag, Thailand’s seafood exports would be banned by EU members.
Depypere said he hoped the Thai government would continue its anti-IUU efforts so as to set a good example for others.
He was speaking after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon.
Depypere heads an EU delegation that is in Thailand to discuss the country’s performance entailing IUU isues from April 4-11.
Given his comments, it is quite possible that the EU will decide later this month to remove the yellow flag for Thailand. The EU delegation is evaluating traceability along the supply chain, regulations, law enforcement and punishment against wrongdoers regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Prawit said the Thai government would continue to fight IUU fishing, even if and after the EU removes the yellow flag.
“We will pursue the goal of becoming the IUU-Free Thailand. We will not ignore the woes of fishermen,” he said.
Prawit added that Thailand was ready to share its experiences with other nations.
“We also plan to declare IUU issues as important agenda items at the Asean level next year,” he said.
Depypere said if Thailand could solve IUU problems, the Thai economy would benefit and the quality of life for fishermen would improve.