EC lifts Thailand’s yellow card
The European Commission has lifted its ‘yellow card’ placed on Thailand’s seafood industry following significant attempts by the country to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The yellow card is a formal warning and can lead to import bans to the European Union, potentially damaging the Thai seafood industry where exports run to millions of tonnes.
The NGO Environmental Justice Foundation which campaigns against human rights abuses notes that there have been significant and substantial improvements in Thailand’s monitoring and enforcement capabilities together with strong regional leadership in moving to become the first country in Asia to ratify the Work in Fishing Convention C188.
Work still to be done
However, the NGO cautions against complacency stating there are lingering shortcomings preventing Thailand’s fishing industry from becoming truly ethical. Areas of focus include addressing the over-capacity of the Thai fishing fleet and growing the ‘Port in Port out’ network which it believes is a powerful tool to combat both illegal fishing and associated labour abuses.
Welcome news for the industry
The news has been welcomed by key seafood producer, Thai Union, which owns several prominent brands including John West, Petit Navire and Parmentier. The company also employs people across production sites and owns commercial entities in a number of European countries.
The seafood producer feels the yellow carding process was positive. Dr Darian McBain, global director of sustainable development at Thai Union believed it created an opportunity for Thailand to lead the way in fisheries reform in the region and that the Thai government should be commended for its work.
This view was echoed by Thai Union’s chief executive, Thiraphong Chansiri who congratulated the Royal Thai Government on its efforts saying that improvements to regulation and enforcement of the fishing industry had been significant.
Looking ahead, Thai Union anticipates the development will help in promoting seafood trade to the EU from Thailand.
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