Marine Fisheries Management Plan of Thailand 2020-2022

Article Administrator 2022-09-12

Marine Fisheries Management Plan of Thailand 2020-2022


The new Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E. 2558 (2015) and its revision in B.E. 2560 (2017) recognize the significance of sustainable management of the fisheries resources of Thailand and stipulates that the Thailand Department of Fisheries (DOF) develop and implement a National Fisheries Management Plan (FMP).

This National Marine Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) (2020-2022) is prepared under the Policy for the development of fisheries in Thai waters and the Policy for the promotion, development and resolution of problems pertaining to fisheries outside of Thai waters. The FMP (2020-2022) is also built on the success of FMP (2015-2019) and takes into consideration the assessment of progress against the FMP (2015- 2019) goals and objectives, changes in the status and nature of the fishery and newer approaches to management. Many of the management measures specified in the FMP (2015-2019) have already been implemented. Excellent progress has made against the urgent issues of (i) overfishing and overcapacity, and (ii) Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. For the other issues, good progress has been made against all objectives.

This progress is the direct result of a number of fisheries reforms that have been implemented since 2015 that included the conversion from an open-access to a limited-access fishery, tighter controls on IUU fishing including ratification and implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), implementation and enforcement of technical measures and more stringent requirements for overseas vessels, including ratification and implementation of the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement (UNFSA).

Marine fisheries are important both socially and economically for Thailand. In order to maintain the sustainable development of the sector, a number of challenges still need to be addressed. These include rebuilding and maintaining the fish resources at a level commensurate with the MSY, reducing the large quantities of small low value/trash fish, including juveniles of larger commercial species that are taken, further reducing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), improving the status of critical marine habitats (mangroves, sea grasses, and coral reefs), improving the well-being of artisanal fishers and strengthening the capacity for effective fisheries management.

Based on these challenges, the goals of the FMP (2020-2022) are:

1.  Fisheries resources restored to a level that can support the MSY in Thai waters and sustainable fishing expanded into deep-sea and overseas waters;

2.  IUU-free fishery;

3.  Healthy habitats and environment;

4.  Improved livelihoods of artisanal fishers and fishing communities; and

5.  Effective fisheries management capacity.

Important management measures specified in the FMP (2020-2022) include the control of fishing effort through a total allowable effort (TAE) and licensing scheme and the use of incentives such as a buy-backs and license combination schemes to remove excess capacity for fishing vessel, the introduction of area-based management for selected fisheries, including clams and shrimp and introducing Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) for selected fisheries. Restrictions on the number and characteristics of fishing gear will be maintained. The expansion of sustainable fishing into deeper waters in Thailand and into overseas fishing grounds will be promoted. To reduce the catch of juvenile market fish, mesh size limits will be maintained or increased and seasonal closures improved. Artificial reefs and restocking programs will be maintained.

The FMP is designed to reduce the level of IUU fishing to a level that can be controlled through regular MCS arrangements in the future. Specific management measures to achieve this include a review of the National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU fishing (NPOA-IUU) and the further strengthening of Thailand’s coastal State, flag State and port State responsibilities. The traceability systems already in place will also be improved and international and regional MCS networking adopted.

The DOF will collaborate with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) to improve the status of critical habitats and rebuild biodiversity as well as to reduce marine debris which affects ecosystems and sustainability of fisheries resources. A new important initiative of the FMP 2020-2024 will be the application of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (FAO SSF Guidelines) to further improve the well-being of artisanal fishers and fishing communities.

The FMP also recognizes the importance of better data and information to inform management decision making and proposes several important changes on research, data and information that can be used in the future management of Thailand’s marine fisheries. Lastly the FMP recognizes the need for institutional changes and strengthening the human capacity to improve future fisheries management.

The details of all management measures needed to meet the FMP’s objectives, as well as key performance indicators, timelines, and responsible agencies, are included in the plan.

The implementation of the FMP also requires the provision of the adequate financial, technical and human resources. The Thai Government has a policy to allocate budget of 2,970 billion baht over the three years period of the FMP.

The FMP will be reviewed every second year with a report on progress against the objectives, and if appropriate, the challenges, goals and objectives and management measures will be modified.