BANGKOK, 12 June 2019 (NNT) - Since the government and relevant sectors have stepped up their efforts to suppress illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and have the country removed from the yellow-card status imposed on it by the European Union (EU), another issue has arisen with domestic fishing operators voicing their concerns about the fishing restrictions and the import and export permission procedures. They have also complained about thelevel of imported seafood products from neighboring countries.
The Director-General of the Department of Fisheries, Adisorn Promthep, said today the Fisheries Act of 2015 and related amendments have led to sustainable fishing in Thailand. He said all procedures must be transparent, fair, and traceable. Now, operators of commercial fishing vessels and small-scale fishing boats have to provide documents so buyers can trace the origin of seafood products. The Department of Fisheries has set up a system to support and facilitate the fishing operators, who are required to show their Marine Catch Purchasing Documents (MCPDs) and catch certificates to the officials. This increases the confidence of consumers, as they can see where the fish originated and when they were caught. The main selling point of Thai seafood products is that they are not derived from IUU fishing.
According to the Department of Fisheries, Thailand only imports 9,000 tons of seafood products from countries that have yet to comply with the IUU fishing regulations each year. The figure is only equivalent to 0.6% of total seafood production in Thailand. The Department of Fisheries also controls and monitors the quantity of imported seafood products. However, the department will look into the domestic fishing operators’ complaints and address their problems.