By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
THE MARINE Department has launched a mobile one-stop service to issue certificates for captains and mechanics, as one of the measures to legalise fishing vessels.
The move is in accordance with the 15 rules of the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) and the United Nations illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing protocol.
Marine Department director Chula Sulmanop told a press conference yesterday that the department would operate the mobile one-stop service until Thursday in 16 seaside provinces.
The service is also registering and renewing boat licences.4
Earlier, the fishing industry had complained that the lack of certified Thai trawler captains and mechanics prevented many boats from going to the sea.
Chula said the department had acknowledged the problem and implemented an option for people who previously might not have had time to take the test to become certified.
“After the first two days of the mobile one-stop service operations in Trad, Chantaburi, Samut Sakhon, Surat Thani and Songkhla on July 6 and 7, there were 945 captain certificates and 802 mechanic certificates issued, taking the overall number of the workers who can legitimately do their job at sea to 1,815,” he said.
He forecast that at the end of the operation, there will be around 7,000 certificates issued and the problem stemming from the lack of certified captains and mechanics will be solved.
However, he said there was a legal limitation that barred foreigners from being a captain.
“After the operation period, the workers who still do not have certificates can do the test at the Marine Department office in their province. The offices are also open on Saturday and Sunday for the certificate exam as well,” he said.
He revealed that 145 new fishing vessels had been registered during the first two days of the operation.
The Marine Department is also responsible for inspecting fishing vessels before they go out and when they return.
Chula said the department had sufficient officers in every checkpoint to carry out the inspections, with the Navy providing manpower and ships in assistance.
He said there were also vessel-monitoring installations in 72 trawlers, which were bigger than 60 tonnes since this regulation was enforced on April 26.
In related news, the Fisheries Department has heeded requests by local fishery networks and non-governmental organisations that there be no amnesty for illegal otter trawls, push nets and lighted anchovy fishing boats.
Banjong Nasae, president of the Thai Sea Watch Association, praised the Fisheries Department for listening to the public and restoring a national resource.