ข่าว : Thailand's Latest Updates on IUU Fishing News

ข่าว : Thailand's Latest Updates on IUU Fishing

Press  Release : Thai Court Issued a Fine of over 223 Million Thai Baht in an Illegal Overseas Fishing Vessels Case

      On 11 May 2018, the Criminal Court sentenced the owner of the fishing vessels “Mook Andaman 018” and “Mook Andaman 028” for the following charges: taking the vessels out to the waters of a foreign state and high seas without permission or taking refrigerated fishery cargo carriers to the waters of a foreign state without permission; failing to bring the vessels back to port within the deadline set by the Notification of the Department of Fisheries; exceeding the time limit to return to port without notifying the Port-in Port-out (PIPO) Control Centre; hiring migrant workers without work permits and sea books according to the Navigation in the Thai Waters Act; failing to provide compulsory rest hours according to the law and failing to document records of rest hours; failing to make two copies of the employment contract, each to be kept separately by the employer and the employee; being unable to present to the labour inspectors salary payment and over-time  payment documents; as well as failing to show employees registration to the PIPO Centre.

          The vessels owner and his partner were found guilty on all charges. Each was fined 111,543,500 Thai Baht. The second defendant was also sentenced to 6 months in prison, suspended for two years. If they cannot pay the fine, they will be subjected to more than one year in prison in lieu of the fine payment.

          Previously, the Criminal court issued fine sentences for four other vessels conducting illegal fishing overseas in the same period of time, namely Yu Long 125, Yu Long 6, Hung Chi Fu 68, and Seribu, to an amount totaling over 235 million Thai Baht. This reflects the Royal Thai Government’s commitment to strict law enforcement to deter illegal fishing as well as illegal treatment of labour in the fisheries sector, in order to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries in line with international standards.

 

Press Release : Thailand Strengthens Effectiveness of the Fisheries Monitoring Center

          On 16 May 2018, General Chatchai Sarikulya, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, visited the Fisheries Monitoring Center (FMC), which is located within the Department of Fisheries, to follow up on its performance and explore ways to increase the effectiveness of the FMC.

          The FMC was set up in 2017 and is fully operational on a 24-hour basis as the command center for all monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) activities. The FMC coordinates and works closely with Port-in Port-out (PIPO) Centres. It establishes connections with all fishing vessels via the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) which is used to monitor the vessels’ activities, including areas of fishing, use of legitimate fishing gears, catch transshipment at sea, and labour treatment on board. The VMS transmits data including location, route, and pattern of activities of the fishing vessels to the FMC which will then be transferred to 30 PIPO Centres for reference for Port-in Port-out inspections.

          Thailand has upgraded VMS equipment and developed the software used by the FMC/VMS for better data processing, including (1) sorting fishing vessels by vessel license and type of vessel and displaying vessel locations in real time; (2) recording navigation routes and comparing the routes of up to 10 vessels at the same time; (3) automatically notifying when there are any regulation violations, or when risky activities are detected, including when two vessels are moving closer than a distance of  50 metres, or when the vessel enters the Exclusive Economic Zone of a third country, or when the vessel fails to return to port within 30 days as set in the regulation; (4) keeping track of notifications and violation records to be used as inputs for risk analysis; and (5) categorising fishing behaviours into different level of risk. Each risk group indicates different levels of intensity of MCS procedures to be conducted by FMC officials.

In addition, the Thai Government further developed the data storage system and linked the FMC/VMS database of the Fisheries Department with those of other concerned agencies including the Marine Department, the Command Centre for Combatting Illegal Fishing (CCCIF), the Ministry of Labour, and the Royal Thai Police, to make the most of the pooled information on fishing vessels’ activities for risk analysis. This will in turn support the vessel inspections and the law enforcement against illegal vessels more accurately and swiftly.

          The Thai authorities also recognised the importance of capacity building for operating staff to better understand the relevant regulations, be more vigilant regarding risky activities, as well as be more competent in the use of technology. Thus, the Deputy Prime Minister ordered the CCCIF to deploy 5 personnel 

to monitor and train the FMC staff for the period of three months, and to designate the work flow among the concerned agencies in order to achieve the same standard so that information received from the FMC can be immediately deployed to enforce the law effectively. The work flow runs from monitoring and surveillance, investigation, arrest, to prosecution of the wrongdoers. The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to increasing the effectiveness of the FMC, making it the most modern model in the region, with a view to become a leader in sustainable fisheries and to achieve an IUU-free Thailand within the next few years.

 

Press Release : Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries Paid a Courtesy call on General Chatchai Sarikulya, Deputy Prime Minister

      On 24 May 2018, Mr. Gabriel Mato and Ms. Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia, members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH) from Spain, paid a courtesy call on General Chatchai Sarikulya, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, at the Government House on the occasion of their visit to Thailand to attend the 22nd Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) hosted by the Department of Fisheries in Bangkok from 21-25 May 2018. At the meeting, both sides discussed the latest development of the Thai fishery reform.

          The Deputy Prime Minister reiterated Thailand’s commitment to tackle the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing over the past three years and highlighted substantive progress on many fronts such as the enactment of the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries and its related regulations, the control of the whole fishing fleet size, the development of a traceability system, the strengthening of the monitoring, control and surveillance systems, and the implementation of swift and strict law enforcement, both at the criminal court and the administrative sanction committee levels. This resulted in 4,427 legal cases being prosecuted for breaching the fishing regulations and illegal treatments of labour in the fisheries sector. Over 88% of the cases had reached the verdict, including cases of several overseas fishing vessels which were fined to the total of over 400 million Baht (nearly 11 million Euros).

          The Deputy Prime Minister emphatically stated that Thailand will be relentless in its effort to combat IUU fishing to reach the target of being an IUU-free country as well as to create a sustainable fisheries sector in parallel with its effort to solve the labour issues within the fisheries sector. Thailand is ready to take a leading role in the combat against IUU fishing in the region and has already pushed forward the idea of “ASEAN Common Fisheries Policy.” Thailand will also call for strengthening of ASEAN cooperation to prevent and combat the IUU fishing when it assumes ASEAN chairmanship in 2019 and is willing to work with the EU in order to achieve sustainable fishing in Thailand and the region as a whole.

          Mr. Mato and Ms. Garcia commended Thailand’s progress in this matter. Both MEPs had visited the Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) on 23 May 2018 and were briefed on the positive development of the monitoring, control and surveillance system being installed, especially regarding the connection between the vessel monitoring system (VMS) and the electronic reporting and monitoring system on Thai Fleets operating overseas; the traceability system put in place for aquatic animals, both from Thai waters and imported from overseas; and the improved effectiveness of PIPO centres. All of these efforts demonstrate that Thailand is heading in the right direction towards sustainable fishing and can be an important example to other countries in the region facing similar problems.

          In addition, both MEPs were pleased to learn about measures being put in place to protect labour in the fisheries sector as well as Thailand’s intention to ratify the relevant ILO’s Conventions within this year. Both pledged support from the EU to provide continued assistance to Thailand in order to achieve the goal of sustainable fishing.

 

 

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, http://mfa.go.th/main/en/news3/6886