Thailand is seeks to join hands with other countries in developing a joint declaration to enhance sustainable fisheries development in the region and combat IUU fishing
A regional cooperative forum for sustainable fisheries for the ASEAN Economic Community, joining with other Southeast Asian countries to come up with Joint Declaration to combat IUU fishing that would foster multi-lateral co-operation for enhancing the competitiveness of ASEAN fish and fishery products in compliance with international standards and regulations to ensure sustainable food security of the region.
‘Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated or IUU fishing is considered as serious threat to the sustainability of fishery resources and marine environment, and is under serious concern of several countries including the ASEAN,’ said Dr Theerapat Prayurasiddhi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, addressing the meeting attended by more than a hundred delegates from ASEAN-SEAFDEC countries; Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as officials of ASEAN, SEAFDEC and representatives of relevant international/regional organisations.
The forum was held yesterday at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre, with the Department of Fisheries, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives hosting the Consultation on Regional Co-operation in Sustainable Fisheries Development Towards the ASEAN Economic Community: Combating IUU Fishing and Enhancing the Competitiveness of ASEAN Fish and Fishery Products.
This Joint Declaration by high-level officials is designed to signal how seriously enhancing co-operation among countries is being taken towards eliminating IUU fishing.
It was noted at the meeting that IUU fishing problems are complicated by the nature of fishery resources that are shared by several countries, labour-related issues, and products being intra-regionally traded prior to export. These problems could not be addressed by countries individually, but require co-operation among concerned agencies and with regional collaboration to enhance the effectiveness in combating of IUU fishing.
Dr Adisorn Promthep, DG of the Department of Fisheries, explained that the reform of Thai fisheries policy with the new Royal Ordinance on Fisheries 2015 is in line with international requirements, with the establishment of Marine Fisheries Management Plan to address problems on overfishing capacity by freezing new vessel registration.
The fishing licence regime has also been overhauled, with open access to fisheries replaced with with limited access, and with application of an MSY regime. Monitoring, control and surveillance system have also been enhanced with the establishment of Port-in/Port-out controls. A Catch Certificate Scheme has been developed to enhance the traceability of fish and fishery products, and a system has also been established to support the implementation of Port State Measures.
Furthermore, on 10 May 2016, Thailand also submitted the Instrument of Accession to the Agreement on Port State Measures, which is one of the key international agreements aimed at combating IUU fishing. It is anticipated that Thailand’s accession to the PSMA will enhance control over foreign-flagged fishing vessels and prevent the entry of IUU fish and fishery products into the country.