Fishermen and NGOs allied against IUU fishing

iuu5A national association of small-scale fishermen has forged an alliance with the Thai Sea Watch Association to create a network dedicated to stopping illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices, the first partnership of its kind in Thailand and one that could provide essential help in protecting and conserving the Kingdom’s marine resources for a sustainable future.

Called the “Thai Civil Society’s Coalition for Sustainable and Ethical Seafood,” the network’s leaders said that it would work to see that there would be no let up or falling off when it comes to the government’s measures to prevent IUU fishing. In implementing its campaign to stop IUU fishing, the government has said that partnerships with the private sector and civil society would be crucial to its success.

In addition, the Coalition will devise its own measures to monitor what is taking place in Thai waters and provide information on those violating rules in order to ensure enforcement remains vigorous, said Wichoksak Tonnarongpairee, manager of the Association of Thai Fisherfolks Federation.

A total of 12 civic and non-governmental organizations have signed on to the Coalition. The Coalition will work closely with the Seafood Task Force, a group of major seafood buyers in Europe and the United States that is dedicated to ensuring their supply chains are free of seafood sourced from producers who are plundering the environment or engaging in human trafficking, said Banjong Nasae, chief of Thai Sea Watch Association.

The United States has recognized that Thailand has been making progress in preventing human trafficking and raised the Kingdom in its annual rankings on how well countries are addressing the problem.

Banjong said that all destructive fishing gear dangerous to small marine lives must be banned. “Young fish, shrimp and crabs should be given time to mature,” he said. When too many fish are caught at too young an age, stocks diminish as fewer fish are left to reproduce.

Sama-ae Jehmudor, chairman of the Thai Fisherfolks Federation, said the situation has improved because of the government’s efforts.