Thailand Updates on Progress Made on Sustainable Fishery at the Seafood Expo Global 2019

On 7 May 2019, H.E. Mr. Manasvi Srisodapol, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Head of Mission of Thailand to the European Union, took part in a Seminar entitled “Thailand’s Sustainability of Fisheries Industry” held at the sidelines of the Seafood Expo Global 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. The Expo was attended by importers and exporters of fishery products, media and representatives of the civil society organisations from all over the world. Other Thai participants attending the said Seminar included representatives from the Department of Fisheries, Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), the Federation of Thai Fisher Folk Association, and the Thai Tuna Industry Association.
Ambassador Manasvi informed the gathering of the tremendous efforts undertaken by the Thai government in combatting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing over the past few years, which led to EU’s lifting the yellow card. At present, the comprehensive reform of the Thai fisheries sector has been widely acknowledged, from the development of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) System to the state of the art traceability system to ensure that Thailand’s whole supply chain is free from IUU fishing. Thailand’s efforts have contributed significantly to the sustainability of fishing activities and can set as an example for the ASEAN region.
Dr. Adisorn Prompthep, Director General of Department of Fisheries, reaffirmed Thailand’s commitment to continuing this path leading to sustainability of fisheries management. He emphasised that Thailand’s determination was to raise the standards of commercial fishing within and outside Thai waters to meet the international standards and to become a competent partner with the EU and other countries in future of sustainable fisheries.
In addition, Dr. Rawee Viriyatum, Coordinator of the Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), presented Thailand’s roadmap towards sustainable fishing through the FIP such as Thailand Blue Swimming Crab Fishery Improvement Project. The FIP aims to increase the supply of aquatic animals for long-term consumption, reduces the impact on the environment and to advocate effective fishery management. Meanwhile, Ms. Saowalak Prathumthong and Mr. Jirasak Meerit from the Federation of Thai Fisher Folk Association highlighted the importance of sustainable and responsible fishing among artisanal fishermen. One example from the local initiatives was the creation of “Blue Brand Standard” to increase consumer confidence that the product was sourced from sustainable fishing and not caught by destructive fishing gear. Furthermore, Dr. Chanintr Chalisarapong, President of Thai Tuna Industry Association, emphasised the progress in sustainability achieved in the fishery industry and the important role of the private sector’s efforts in producing fishery products that are sustainable, environmentally friendly, and at the same time adhering to international standards related to the treatment of labour in the fisheries sector. He stressed that the Thai private sector was willing to work closely with the government sector, CSOs and other international organisations.
Besides taking part in the Seminar, the Thai delegation also met H.E. Mr. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, who visited the Thai pavilion, showcasing progress on sustainable fishing in Thailand inside the Seafood Expo Global 2019. The EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries praised Thailand for its success in reforming the fishery sector and stressed that Thailand was an excellent example for the development of an effective MCS System, utilising modern technology to monitor catches. This resulted in an improvement in the efficiency of control and prevention mechanisms. The electronic traceability system that Thailand is currently developing is also in line with the EU’s new policy to introduce digitalization of catching certificates, processing statements and importer declaration, to fishing catches imported into the EU.

In order to promote best practices that will lead to sustainable fishing, Thailand together with SeaWeb will host the SeaWeb Seafood Summit 2019 from 10-14 June 2019 in Bangkok. This upcoming event will provide a platform for exchanging knowledge and sharing of best experiences in sustainable seafood industry among all stakeholders including representatives from government, private sectors, academia, CSOs and media. The event will provide an opportunity for Thailand to share its experiences with attendees worldwide on how to develop sustainable fishing and how to advance its IUU-Free Thailand policy in order to strengthen marine sustainability and foster consumer confidence globally.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Afairs