Following a recent EU inspection of Thai measures to tackle Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, the EU said it was satisfied with the 2016 Fisheries Decree which aims to ensure the sustainable development of the Thai fishing industry, Adisorn Promthep, director-general of the Department of Fisheries, said.
The EU wants to see all measures under the law successfully implemented, he said.
However, the EU remains concerned about the excessive number of trawlers in the country, which threaten seafood stocks and marine ecological systems. The EU wants Thailand to reduce the number of trawlers, Mr Adisorn said.
According to the department, there are currently more than 11,000 registered trawlers and about 2,000 illegal trawlers. The EU believes a more suitable number would be under 10,000.
Mr Adisorn said the department has told the EU it does not want to rob fishermen of their livelihoods by revoking their licences so it has limited the number of days trawlers can fish to 220 days per year to preserve marine stocks and ecological systems.
The department also has a programme to buy trawlers from fishermen and encourage them to pursue new careers.
“The EU agreed with us that Thailand needs more time to see its efforts achieve better results. The next meeting between Thai and EU officials will be in January next year, where it is expected further progress will be reported to the EU,” Mr Adisorn said.
He added that it is not clear when the EU will decide to lift the “yellow card” which it issued to Thailand but officials are confident the EU will not impose a ban on Thai seafood exports.
“We have done many things to meet required standards. If our trading partners are happy with us, we see no need to worry about an EU ban.”
The EU issued the yellow card in April last year and demanded Thailand bring its fishing industry in line with international standards to prevent labour abuses, as well as illegal and unsustainable fishing practices.
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