Top Stories : Press Release : Three arrested on charges of illegal fishing in overseas water News

Top Stories : Press Release : Three arrested on charges of illegal fishing in overseas water

Thai authorities arrested three individuals for illegal fishing in foreign waters this week. The three men are owners of six Thai-flagged fishing vessels that have engaged in illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean, near Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles. The vessels were fishing without permission from the Command Center for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF), an inter-agency body established in May 2015 to intensify and coordinate the Thai government’s efforts to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The three suspects confessed to the charges. They face a penalty of up to one year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 100,000 baht (approximately 2,600 euros) or both, in accordance with the NCPO Order No.10/2558. In addition, they are subject to administrative sanctions under the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E. 2558 (2015) (Sections 81, 113 and 116), including a fine of up to 2 million baht (50,000 euros), the revocation of the vessel registrar, and the confiscation of aquatic animals caught. The Department of Fisheries has also requested the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to include these vessels in the IOTC IUU vessels list. Upon returning to port, all six vessels will be inspected and every member of the crew will be interviewed. If unlawful labor practices were found or if any of the seamen were victims of trafficking or forced labor, the suspects would be subject to further criminal and administrative sanctions under the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act B.E. 2551 (2008) and other labor-related laws. The above case demonstrates the Thai government’s firm commitment to heighten law enforcement to root out illegal fishing and labor malpractices in the fishing industry. The government has been undertaking a comprehensive fisheries reform, with a view to promote sustainable and responsible fisheries in line with international standards and obligations.