The EU issued a yellow card to Thailand in April 2015, warning the country should clean up its poorly regulated fishing industry or face a ban on seafood exports.
Vice Admiral Surapol Kuptaphan of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, who is also chief of Third Area Thailand Maritime Enforcement Coordinating Centre (NAC3), revealed that following a recent meeting the Royal Thai Navy learned that the country’s strategy to prevent and tackle IUU fishing has lacked reporting and control.
“Our investigation showed that so far 90 per cent of fishing boats and fishing industry operators in the system are following the laws. However, action must be taken against that 10% still operating outside of the law so that we are guaranteed that the EU will drop the yellow card by April next year,” V/Adm Surapol said.
“With regards to Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) installed on fishing vessels, we have found that some fishing boats turn off the systems when they arrive in certain areas, therefore we need to step up measures to prevent this from happening,” he added.
V/Adm Surapol went onto say that at present their have been no reports of Rohingya migration via Thai waters but that it is still a possible that some Rohingya might attempt to come to Thailand so more officials and patrolling vessels will monitor the the situation.
“We have received no recent reports of attempted human trafficking along the Andaman coast, and we are constantly carrying out anti-human trafficking measures especially against Rohingya.
“If we don’t have middlemen or employment agencies bringing in illegal migrants and provide them with shelters, we will not have to deal with this issue,” he said.
“Besides, most Rohingya want to go to other countries rather than work in Thailand,” he added.