By THE SUNDAY NATION
Deputy Prime Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya on Thursday received representatives of European Parliament’s Commission on Fisheries, Gabriel Mato and Kala Garcia, at Government House.
As both EU parliamentarians have played a major role in pushing for an end to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing globally, Chatchai assured them of the Thai government’s determination to reform the country’s fisheries industry.
He revealed that Thai authorities have been enforcing the law swiftly and profoundly with success in the suppression of crimes and law violations in the fisheries sector. A total of 4,427 cases were taken to court, with 88 per cent of them, or 3,883 cases, already ruled on by the courts.
According to the authorities, 2,982 cases breached fishing vessel regulations, 1,280 cases involved illegal fishing activities, 77 cases were violations of the labour protection law in the seafood industry, and 88 were human trafficking cases.
Chatchai also informed the delegates that since October 2017, the owners of fishing vessels must declare to the Port In – Port Out Centre in their locality that they had already complied with all aspects of legal requirements before going out to sea.
Regarding legislation reform on human trafficking and forced labour, and improving the quality of life of fisheries workers, Chatchai revealed that the Thai government had set a time frame to ratify the International Labour Standards on Seafarers of the 188th Convention of International Labour Organisation, |as well as enforcement of the forced |labour suppression law by September next year.
“I have confirmed that all actions are not just aimed at getting the EU to revoke the yellow card to Thailand. Thailand is looking at sustainable fishing,” he said.
“The EU will be our key ally to work towards the Asean Common Fisheries Policy and set up the Asean IUU Task Force within next year.”