Further measures set to strengthen struggle against IUU fishing

Date: April 6, 2017

Source & Author: FIS.com

Thai authorities intend to set a number of measures to further regulate vessels and fishery-related activities as part of a strategy to deal with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Gen Chatchai Sarikulya explained that the government had found many vessels are taking advantage of legal loopholes to fish illegally, despite the government’s efforts to crack down on the problem.

And he explained that the initiative to implement further control measures was taken in response to a European Union (EU) threat to ban fishery exports from Thailand unless it tackles the IUU issue.

An Order issued this week forces fishing vessel owners to report to authorities by a set time. Besides, the licence of any vessel will be revoked unless it is renewed within 30 days of the expiry date.

Shipowners will also have to set up a vessel monitoring system (VMS) onboard and will have to inform authorities on their movement.

On the other hand, the Order sets that owners of transshipment vessels  refrigerated cargo vessels, vessels carrying fuel and water, and other fishery support vessels to report to the authorities by the date provided. Those who fail to meet this will have to pay a fee amounting to THB 10,000 (USD 289.1) and will lose their licence.

The administrative committee comprising the chief of the Department of Fisheries, the Ministry of Labour, the Marine Department, the Ministry of Industry, among others, will work on speeding up procedures.

“For example, the committee has full authority to close any plants involving fishing activities, including a right to halt the movement of any vessels and illegal workers within three days and detain the vessel until the legal case is complete,” Bangkok Post reported.

The panel also has the authority to confiscate a vessel with a court order.

“We have spent over two years dealing with IUU problems and we don’t want to make it longer. We want to wrap the matter up as soon as possible. The latest order under Section 44 will help us achieve the plan,” the minister stressed.

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