The visit on Saturday (Oct 29) was led by Adm Luechai Ruddit, the navy chief of staff and director of the Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordination Centre (THAI-MECC), as well as executives from the Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) and other departments concerned.
They listened to concerns raised by the Port In-Port Out (PIPO) Command Centre in Samut Sakhon. The officers also inspected the centre’s work in monitoring the vessels and went to the provincial office of the fishing marketing organisation.
The CCCIF is the coordinating unit of various agencies, including the navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Marine Department, the Department of European Affairs, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Marine Police Division, to ensure strict law enforcement in accordance with the 2015 Royal Ordinance on Fisheries as well as other associated laws.
These items of legislation stipulate various measures to counter illegal fishing, ranging from vessel documentation and ensuring fishing gear does not cause destruction of marine resources to labour protection in the fishery industry.
According to the officials, the PIPO is the THAI-MECC’s key mechanism to oversee fishing trawlers and inspect work permits of labourers and fishing equipment before the vessels leave ports to catch fish.
The PIPO also monitors the returning vessels and verifies where they went to catch fish.
Electronic devices, such as the monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) and fingerprint scan system, were also used in the inspection.
The EU issued a yellow-card warning to Thailand in April last year and urged swifter progress in combating illegal fishing.
Thailand risks getting a red card, which means the EU would ban the country’s seafood imports if it fails to comply with international standards.
Meanwhile, the government has allowed Cambodian, Lao and Myanmar labourers in the fishery industry whose work permits are due to expire this year to re-register, which would allow the fishermen to be able to work until November next year.
This was approved by a cabinet resolution on Oct 25, said Singhadet Chu-amnart, director-general of the Department of Employment, adding the approach was also part of the ministry’s attempts to tackle Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing problems.
Registration will be open until Dec 30 at 22 seaside provincial employment offices and Bangkok. For workers whose permits expire in 2017 and 2018, they will not be allowed to register this time, Mr Singhadet said.
The work permits of 21,744 labourers in the maritime fishing industry and 54,533 in the food processing industry will expire by the end of this year.
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