Thailand is going to be taken off of the European Commission’s blacklist of the countries that had been warned over illegal and unregulated fishing. Four years ago, the Southeast Asian nation got a warning – a so-called “yellow card” – from the European Union over unsustainable fishing practices, which could have jeopardized exports to Europe.
The yellow card triggered Thailand’s military government’ investigation into the illegal fishing and an overhaul of the industry. “There have been sacrifices and adjustment to the way fishing was conducted,” the deputy spokesperson of the military government, Lieutenant General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak, said. “Thailand’s fishing industry at all levels has a responsibility to the environment and the world through more sustainable fishing practices in line with international standards.”
As a result, Thailand changed a number of rules to the vessel monitoring systems, a satellite-based system tracking the movement of fishing boat as well as labour regulations. The labour practices had been subject to major criticism over human trafficking and ill-treatment of workers. The country’s fishing industry employs around 300,000 people of neighbouring countries, including Myanmar and Cambodia.
“Since the yellow card was issued, the Commission and Thailand have engaged in a constructive process of cooperation and dialogue,” the European executive commented and confirmed that this has led to an upgrade in the Thai fishing industry. Brussels now says that Thailand is a “new committed partner” in the fight against poor fishing practices that have a negative impact on fish stock around the world and do harm to people who are employed in the industry. In 2017, Thailand exported $2.1 billion worth of seafood. In 2018, 10 percent of the exports headed to the European Union.