Fisheries cheer withdrawal of yellow card


Thai fishery operators are feeling relief after the EU on Tuesday de-listed Thailand from yellow card status in recognition of the country's progress in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Thailand was issued the yellow card on April 29, 2015, with a ban on all Thai seafood exports threatened unless the issue was resolved. The penalty made the government work harder to upgrade the fisheries industry and improve its credibility. The public and private sectors jointly rushed to combat human trafficking and avoid the loss of massive profits from the lucrative fishing industry. Poj Aramwattananont, vice-chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), said fisheries operators appreciate the government's efforts to tackle the problem over the past three years and nine months. "Their work improves the country's reputation," Mr Poj said. In mid-2018, Thailand was promoted from the Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons report. The annual report evaluates 187 countries and territories and ranks them in four tiers, with Tier 1 being the best and Tier 3 the worst. Mr Poj, also president of the Thai Fishery Producers Coalition, said the effort represents a turning point for Thailand in developing the agricultural and fisheries sectors in the long run. In addition, two new statuses regarding human trafficking are supporting new investment flows for the fisheries industry and increasing confidence in Thai-made fishery products in the global market. "After that, Thai operators will get sustainable acceptance from many import countries," Mr Poj said. TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin said the newly upgraded status was good news for the country's reputation, fisheries and related supply chain, presenting a new opportunity for fishery operators to expand in new markets worldwide. "We believe that Thai-made seafood products will easily enter new countries, while we appreciate the government for this sincere action to solve the human trafficking issue in Thailand," Mr Kalin said. The country's agriculture and food industries contributed 8.2% to GDP in 2017. Workers in the industries totalled 11.78 million, representing 31.5% of the country's labour market and more than 50% of Thai households. Thawee Piyapatana, senior vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said that after the yellow card de-listing Thailand can gain more benefits in terms of export volume of fishery products. Meanwhile, Thai-made products will have a better reputation of meeting global standards, Mr Thawee said. "It will reflect positively on Thailand's economy and industry, not only in seafood products, but also other agricultural goods," he said. "Moreover, Thailand gains the best rank among Southeast Asian countries." He said the EU and US cannot blame Thai-made seafood products for being connected to illegal fishing and human trafficking.   Optimistic outlook Usanee Liurat, executive vice-president of Asia Plus Securities (ASP), said the EU's yellow card removal is a boon for Thai seafood exporters, which will enjoy easier access to new customers. The move also improves Thailand's reputation in the global fishing industry, bringing the country in line with international standards and providing an example for tackling illegal fishing that Cambodia, Taiwan and Sri Lanka can emulate, Ms Usanee said. Thailand is the world's third-largest exporter of seafood, a status that rights groups say is achieved through illegal overfishing and reliance on low-paid trafficked workers from neighbouring countries. Ms Usanee said Thai Union Group Plc, Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc, Asian Seafoods Coldstorage Plc and Seafresh Industry Plc are SET-listed firms poised to benefit from the end of the EU's threat to ban Thai seafood exports. "There is a chance that existing customers will increase their orders in the future," she said. The move is a positive development for revenue generated from seafood exports, as 50% of Asian Seafoods Coldstorage's total revenue come from exports of shrimp, squid, tuna and sand whiting fish, while 42% of Thai Union Group's total revenue derives from exports of tuna, salmon and shrimp, Ms Usanee said. The export value of Thailand's seafood industry totalled 58 billion baht between January and November 2018, down 12% year-on-year, according to ASP. "The improvements to regulation and enforcement of the fishing industry have been significant, not only in terms of traceability and the sustainable development of fisheries, but also in terms of eliminating human rights violations," said Thiraphong Chansiri, chief executive of Thai Union Group.   ------------------------------ written by : Bangkok Post
Administrator 2019-01-10

Fishery sector buoyed up after EU lifts yellow card


FISHERY EXPORTS can expect a boost after the European Union lifted the “yellow card” on Thailand for making progress in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), according to experts, who believe the EU move will also improve the industry’s practices and reputation. The EU decision reflects the significant progress made in Thailand’s fishery industry, said Kobsak Pootrakool, Prime Minister’s Office Minister. “The government has worked hard to improve the state of fishery industry regulations and administration. The next step is to make the fishery industry a key factor in driving Thailand’s economic growth,” he said.    The Royal Thai Navy and security authorities yesterday join hands to search fishing vessels and test their crews for narcotics at Laemthien pier at the Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri province.   Being spared the “yellow card” will yield three key benefits to Thailand: boost Thai exports to the EU, improve Thailand’s reputation internationally, and indirectly benefit other industries in the production chain, according to Kriengkrai Thiennukul, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).  The EU also recognised the efforts of Thai authorities in tackling human trafficking and improving labour conditions in the fishing sector. The FTI vice chairman urged the next government to maintain the legal and administrative standards in the fishery industry, saying it was important that Thailand did not slip back into the “yellow card” category again. “Being in the “yellow card” category has had a damaging impact on the fishery industry in terms of both sales and reputation. The current government has done an impressive job in improving Thailand’s status. What we have to do next is to make sure we maintain this standard,” he said.  Karmenu Vella (R), EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and General Chatchai Sarikulya (L), Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand hold a joint press conference about the progress made in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, in Brussels, Belgium, 08 January 2019. // EPA-EFE PHOTO   Thailand should work closely with the EU to maintain international standards in the fishery industry and rehabilitate fishery and maritime resources, which have sharply declined over the past years, said the president of Thai Tuna Industry Association, Chanintr Chalisarapong.  Fishery resources in the Gulf of Thailand plummeted from 3 million tonnes in 1995 to only 1 million tonnes in 2015, he said. He said rehabilitation efforts increased the resources by 200,000 tonnes last year. “If the plan could be implemented for 10 consecutive years, we would have 2 million tonnes,” he said.  Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general at the Department of Trade Negotiations under the Commerce Ministry, believes the EU move will positively impact the fishery industry. “Being no longer in the ‘yellow card’ category means Thailand’s fishery industry regulations pass the EU standards. This means that Thailand now has greater potential to expand its exports to the EU market,” she said.  “Moreover, it creates a good image for Thailand’s fishery industry and indirectly improves the prospects of developing a Thai-EU free trade agreement,” Auramon added. “This is especially because the EU values sustainable and long-term trade.” Amnart Ngosawang, analyst and senior vice president at KTB Securities (Thailand), offered a different take on the EU decision. “The yellow card was not a complete ban on fishery products. It was only a warning on fishery regulations in Thailand. Hence, I do not believe the positive impact on business turnover will be seen immediately,” he said.  “However, not being in the ‘yellow card’ category will definitely help improve investor confidence. This has been reflected in the stock market,” he said. “For example, we have seen a spike in the stock price of Thai Union Group Plc, a key producer of seafood-based products,” he explained.  This is especially because up to 30 per cent of the total revenue of Thai Union Group comes from the EU market, according to Amnart. Business sentiment towards Thai fishery goods may also improve. This will increase the ease of doing business for Thai exporters.  Meanwhile, Thai Union Group welcomed the EU decision to lift the “yellow card” on Thailand. “The improvements to regulation and enforcement in the fishing industry have been significant, not only in terms of traceability and the sustainable development of fisheries but also in terms of eliminating human rights violations,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, the company’s CEO. The yellow-card process created an opportunity for Thailand to lead the way in fisheries reform in the region and the government should be commended for its work, said Darian McBain, global director of sustainable development at Thai Union.  ------------------------------ written by : The Nation Thailand
Administrator 2019-01-09

IUU Fishing Index


The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime and Poseidon – Aquatic Resource Management Ltd. are pleased to announce the launch of the IUU Fishing Index, a tool designed to provide a better understanding of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing worldwide.   The IUU Fishing Index has been designed to meet the need for a detailed analysis of fishery countries’ vulnerability, exposure and responses to IUU fishing. It fills a key gap by analyzing and evaluating, state by state, the global implications of IUU fishing, thereby helping policymakers identify where interventions are most needed.  IUU fishing is a major threat to ocean ecosystems worldwide, undermining efforts to sustainably manage global fisheries and effectively conserve ocean biodiversity. It is also a significant economic and social disruptor, is detrimental to the legal fishery trade and has been linked to organized crime. The depletion of fish stocks through IUU fishing threatens global food security, along with the livelihoods of some 40 million people who are employed worldwide in capture fishing alone, plus millions more in associated industries. ‘IUU fishing is also often found to be associated with many other forms of transnational organized crime, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and piracy, not to mention the exploitation of weak and corrupt elements of national management regimes.’  Tuesday Reitano, Deputy Director, Global Initiative However, a robust evidence basis on levels of IUU fishing and countries’ vulnerabilities is currently lacking. For example, while the UN Sustainable Development Goals commit member states to ‘end overfishing, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing’ and to eliminate state subsidies that contribute to these practices (targets 14.4 and 14.6), the only indicators against which progress is currently measured are the proportion of fish stocks within sustainable levels and states’ implementation of international instruments aiming to combat IUU fishing. Neither of these is sufficiently wide-ranging nor a direct measure of IUU fishing levels. This poses a major problem for those in government, regional fisheries management organizations, donors and civil society in seeking to identify where interventions are most needed, and how states’ performance measures against others. In order to fill this evidence gap, we have developed the IUU Fishing Index, which benchmarks countries’ vulnerability, prevalence and response to IUU fishing, based on a suite of 40 indicators. Scores (1 = best-performing; 5 = worst-performing) are provided at country, regional and ocean basin levels, and can be filtered by indicator.  The scores from the Index yield both expected and unexpected results. While Belgium came out with the most favourable score for all indicators combined (1.43), China fared worst, with an overall score of 3.93. On indicators that measure vulnerability, many developing countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania are highlighted as areas of concern, primarily because they lack state resources to fully respond to the threats posed by IUU fishing. However, several industrialized countries also scored as vulnerable thanks to extensive fishing infrastructure requiring sophisticated regulatory capacity. By region, Asia displays the poorest scores in terms of prevalence of IUU fishing; of the ocean basins, the East Indian Ocean has the worst score; and China, Taiwan – Province of China, and Cambodia all perform especially poorly. Countries from other regions and ocean basins scoring badly include Russia and Panama. Europe and North America score best on measures of response to IUU fishing, but Oceania also performs well, highlighting the high priority given to fisheries by countries and regional institutions. The five best- and worst-scoring countries in each category, and overall, are outlined below:   5 best-scoring states 5 worst-scoring states 1  Belgium (1.43) China (3.93 2 Latvia (1.57) Taiwan, Province of China (3.34) 3 Estonia (1.67) Cambodia (3.23) 4  Finland (1.67) Russia (3.16) 5 Poland (1.68) Vietnam (3.26) The findings from the Index provide a strong indication that the SDG target 14.4 – to end IUU fishing – will not be achieved if current levels of fishing governance/management prevail, and that combating IUU fishing therefore remains a huge global challenge.  ‘ The Index fills a critical gap in knowledge about the performance of countries, as assessed against a wide range of indicators. The Index provides a wealth of data at country, regional and ocean basin level and that we hope will stimulate the action that is urgently needed to combat IUU fishing.’  Graeme Macfadyen, Director, Poseidon The development of the IUU Fishing Index was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  ----------------------- written by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime Reference Link : https://globalinitiative.net/iuu-fishing-index/  
Administrator 2019-01-01

Thailand heightens law enforcement to combat IUU fishing and illegal labour practicesin overseas fishing activities


Thailand heightens law enforcement to combat IUU fishing and illegal labour practicesin overseas fishing activities Thai authorities take decisive actions to bolster law enforcement against illegal fishing and labour practices in the fishing industry. Four new measures are introduced to prevent fishing and labour-related offences involving overseas fishing operations by Thai-flagged vessels. 1. A temporary ban on at-sea transshipment of aquatic animals The Department of Fisheries prohibits Thai-flagged vessels from engaging in any transshipment of aquatic animals at any sea outside Thai waters for a period of 180 days. Exception to the ban is made only in cases where the vessel is given authorization in accordance with the regulations of the coastal state where the transshipment takes place, or where such transshipment is under the supervision of a relevant international organization, or where there is a qualified fisheries observer on board to monitor the transshipment. The ban, introduced pursuant to Article 87 of the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, is designed to eliminate the possibility of transshipment of IUU fish by Thai-flagged vessels operating in high seas and territorial waters of foreign states. The measure is also expected to help prevent illegal at-sea transfer of seamen between fishing vessels. The Thai authorities have been developing their technical capabilities to monitor and control transshipment at sea effectively. All fishing vessels operating outside Thai waters are now tracked by the authorities using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). Hence, any suspicious at-sea transshipment activities will be detected and promptly investigated, and the vessels in question will be inspected upon returning to port. Those found violating the transshipment ban, which is considered a ?serious infringement? under Article 114 of the Royal Ordinance, are subject to a range of administrative sanctions, including the confiscation of the catch and the revocation of their fishing licenses (Article 113), and a maximum fine of 100,000 baht (about 2,600 euros) (Article 155). 2. Inspections of Thai-flagged fishing vessels operating outside Thai waters A special task force comprising officers from concerned agencies are conducting inspections of 42 Thai-flagged fishing vessels operating outside Thai waters in the Indian Ocean.To date, the task force has inspected 24 of these vessels. The remaining 18 vessels which are still in the Indian Ocean will be inspected during their return trips to Thailand. In this regard, the Director-General of the Department of Fisheries has ordered all vessels operating outside Thai waters, which did not previously report to one of the Port in ? Port out Control Centers when porting out, to return to port for inspection by 30 January 2016. Failure to comply could result in a fine of 2,000,000 baht (about 51,000 euros) (Article 152). Representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Greenpeace were invited to observe the inspection during 2-5 January 2016. After the inspection, ILO and Greenpeace representatives were impressed with the well-organizaed operations, during which the seamen on board were interviewed, their documents checked and their records collected. The ILO and Greenpeace representatives expressed their appreciation to the Thai authorities for giving them the opportunity to observe the inspection. The inspection scheme has so far uncovered cases of infringements of related fisheries and labour laws, namely the Thai Vessels Act, the Immigration Act and the recently enacted Royal Ordinance. Examples of offences include the absence or expiration of valid overseas fishing license, the failure to record fishing data in the logbook, and the use of illegal migrant workers on board without appropriate work permits and employment contracts. Legal action is being taken against vessel owners found to have violated the laws. The Royal Ordinance imposes substantial penalties on cases of serious infringements. The owner of a fishing vessel of 150 gross tonnage or more that carries out fishing outside Thai waters without a fishing license is subject to a fine of 20,000,000 to 30,000,000 baht (about 500,000 ? 750,000 euros) or 5 times the value of the aquatic animals caught, whichever amount is higher. The owner of a fishing vessel of 150 gross tonnage or more that fails to report the logbook is liable to a fine of 2,000,000 baht (about 50,000 euros). The use of illegal seamen without a valid seaman?s book or work permit is liable to a fine of 400,000 ? 800,000 baht (10,000 ? 20,000 euros) per seaman. 3. Observers on Board The Royal Ordinance specifies that every Thai-flagged fishing vessel operating outside Thai waters must have a fisheries observer stationed on board to ensure that fishing operation complies with international standards and fisheries regulations. The observer?s main tasks are to observe the fishing operation, collect data and the specimen of aquatic animals caught by the vessel for traceability purposes, and submit a summary report to the competent official. In addition, the presence of the observer helps to prevent illegal labour practices on board. The first batch of observers (20 of them) completed their training in December 2015.  The Department of Fisheries have been preparing operating manuals and report forms, and formulating necessary rules and regulations to ensure the effectiveness of the observer program. The process is being expedited so that the observers can begin working on board selected vessels operating in the High Seas or the Indian Ocean, tentatively in early 2016.   4. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance: Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and the Fisheries Monitoring Operation Center (FMOC) The Department of Fisheries has set up a Fisheries Monitoring Operation Center (FMOC) equipped with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS)technology. The VMS system is already operational, enabling us to monitor real-time activities of all fishing vessels above 60 gross tonnage (approximately 2,000 vessels). Automatic alarms are being upgraded to detect suspicious illegal fishing activities. These VMS capabilities result in more effective monitoring, control and surveillance of Thailand?s commercial fishing fleet. The systems also help authorities identify and track high-risk fishing vessels,  especially those operating outside Thai waters, with a view to prevent and combat IUU fishing. In this regard, the authorities are seeking technical cooperation with international experts from the U.S. and the E.U. to further enhance their monitoring capabilities, especially in risk and behavioral analysis of fishing vessels. All the above measures are part of the government?s far-reaching effort to reform Thailand?s fisheries management in line with international standards. The latest moves followed  a comprehensive revamping of the fisheries legislation and the adoption of the Fisheries Management Plan and the National Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU Fishing (NPOA-IUU). Inspections of seafood processing plants are being carried out, with a number of factory owners already charged with violations of labour and related laws.   Source : http://www.mfa.go.th/europetouch/th/news/8359/90136-Thailand-heightens-law-enforcement-to-combat-IUU-f.html
Administrator 2018-06-05

THAILAND’S PATH TO SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES


The Abundance of Aquatic Animal Resources of Thailand. Thailand  has  a  large  coastal  area  covering  2,400  kilometer  and  adjoining  to  the  Gulf  of Thailand and Andaman  Sea.  Formerly, we could find diversity of aquatic animal inhabiting, breeding  and  sheltering  within  the  Gulf  of  Thailand.  This  is  due  to  natural  rock,  mangrove and coral reef including big rivers that blow food and nutrition(mineral)for marine animal to the  Gulf  of  Thailand.  From  the  past  until  now,  Thai  people  takes  advantage  a  lot  fromsea, marine  resources  in  the  Gulf  of  Thailand,  apart  from being  domestic consuming,  has  been mostly  exported  to  global  market.  For  the  time  being,  many  kind  of  marine  aquatic  animaland  seawater  quality  have  been  deteriorating  and  put  adversely  affect  to  marine  ecosystem both direct and indirect ways which definitely will have an impact on global environment. Thailand has been one of the significant aquaculture sources of the world. Shrimp; the main economic  aquatic  animal,  has  push  Thailand  towards  the  leader  of  seafood  producer.  Upon the  geographical  and  weather  conditionscontributing  to  the  aquatic  animal  growth,  Thai shrimp  has  been  internally  recognized  in  terms  of  good  flavor  and  higher  quality.  However, as  in  the  past,  under  the  Royal  Ordinance  on  Fisheries  B.E.  2490,  fishing  and  aquaculture could  be  operatedindependently  with  non –restricted  management  and  without  prevention principle. for more details, please read... written by Fisheries Foreign Affairs Division
Administrator 2018-02-28