The Thai Government has been making steady progress in solving labour problems in Thai fishery industries. Following the master plan formulated in 2014, the Department of Fisheries has been implementing the resolutions as follows:
Promotion of Good Labour Practices (GLP)
In order to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, mostly found in shrimp and seafood processing factories, and to promote the workers in Thai fishery industries to have good working conditions, safety, quality of life and welfare in line with international standards, the Department of Fisheries in collaboration with the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Thai Fishery Producers Coalition (TFPC) and NGOs, including Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN), has formulated 4 GLP guidelines; 1) GLP guideline for primary processing workplaces, 2) GLP guideline for shrimp and seafood processing factories, 3) GLP guideline for marine shrimp farms, and 4) GLP guideline for fishing vessels. From October 2015 - March 2016, the Thai Government promoted GLP to 543 Marine shrimp farms.
Conducting Fishing Vessel legalisation to prevent IUU fishing and human trafficking
The Department of Fisheries and the Marine Department has been conducting fishing vessel legalisation by revising 2 regulatory systems: 1) the Thai fishing vessel registration system and 2) the fishing license issue system. Doing this helps the Thai Government know the actual number of fishing vessels operating in Thai waters. This also makes the prevention of IUU fishing under the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E.2558 more effective. Moreover, the Department of Fisheries has developed a database for fishing vessels, and made linkages to other databases, such as for fishing gear and fishing labour, that belong to other government agencies comprising the Marine Department, Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Labour, Royal Thai Navy and Marine Police Division. As a result, monitoring, control and surveillance activities against IUU fishing in Thailand has become much more effective.
Accelerating registration for migrant workers
The Thai cabinet resolved to expand the registration period of migrant workers in marine fishing. The expiration date has been extended from January 30, 2016 to July 31, 2016. Registered migrant labour is, therefore, legally permitted to work until 31 January 2017. The Department of Fisheries has urged fishery industries owners to get their migrant labour registered at One Stop Service registration points nationwide. The record shows that as of May 3, 2016, Thailand has 12,504 migrant workers registered as labour on fishing vessels.
Joint Inspection of fishing vessels and labour on board
The Department of Fisheries, in collaboration with the Marine Department, Department of Employment, Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, and Thai Marine Police Division, have formed a multidisciplinary team to monitor fishing vessels and fishing labour on board in Thai waters along 22 coastal provinces. The Department of Fisheries provides nineteen (19) of the sixty (60) feet in length and over fisheries patrol vessels for this activity. There are fifteen (15) patrol vessels operating joint inspections in the Gulf of Thailand and another four (4) in the Andaman Sea. From October 2015 - September 2016, it is expected to perform 60 joint inspection operations. So far twenty-eight (28) operations have been conducted, 238 fishing vessels have been inspected and five cases have been found in violation of law and sent for prosecution.
Enhancing confidence in Thai fishery products in international markets
The Thai missions have participated in international events and trade shows. The aims are to provide public understanding about the quality of Thai fishery products and to reiterate that the whole production chain has not engaged in illegal labour. The Department of Fisheries in cooperation with relevant government agencies and private sectors, sometimes including the International Labour Organisation, has jointly hosted various events such as exhibitions, seminars, and international meetings in cities; Boston, USA and Brussels, Belgium. Discussions with international customers at the events opened opportunities for the Department of Fisheries to explain and present the solid progress that is being made in preventing labour problem and combating IUU Fishing in Thailand.