Govt intensifies measures to pass EU fisheries inspection

date : January 14, 2016

 The EU issued a yellow card on the Eastern country last April, on the grounds that it has not done enough to address the problem of illegal fishing practices.

Now, the EU delegation is expected to announce whether to rescind the yellow card or issue a red one after the visit, which would mean that Thai seafood products would automatically be banned from entering the EU market.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon hopes Thailand will pass the inspection.

According to the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF), Thailand has inspected 317 fishing vessels operating in its territorial waters for signs of illegal fishing. The EU only required the authorities to examine 220, or 10 per cent of the total number of vessels in home waters.

However, authorities have only inspected 43 vessels that operate in international waters out of a required 73.

Another requirement from the EU was that 10 per cent of the country's seafood processing factories be inspected, that is to say 81 factories.

Of the 115 factories examined by the Fisheries Department, 5 were ordered to close for 10 days because they violated regulations. Three are facing permanent closure, while the Industry Ministry shut down another factory.

Regarding technological improvements, an E-licence system for contractors will be finalised before the end of the month, while procedures to improve the issuing of licences and the monitoring of vessels in real-time and online have already been completed, Bangkok Post informs.

In addition, vessel monitoring systems were place aboard of 2,076 trawlers, out of 2,216.

Meanwhile, as from this month, on board observers will be accommodated on board trawlers weighing more than 60 gross tonnes, and will report on unusual activities.

As part of the measures, the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has forwarded human trafficking cases to prosecutors. Among the 41 cases handed to them between October and December 2015, eight were directly linked to the fishing industry.

The cabinet also approved a new ministerial regulation prohibiting children under 18 working in seafood processing factories.

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