Thai fishing industry officials protest controversial ‘Seaspiracy’ documentary

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Thai fishing industry officials are protesting the controversial ‘Seaspiracy’ documentary as they say its information, regarding human trafficking, is outdated. The Thai Maritime Enforcement Command Centre spokesman Pokkhrong Monthatphalin, says the government had been cleaning up the fishing industry for years after its illegal practises were highlighted in 2015. He says Thai authorities have been trying to invited the documentary’s producers to come inspect the nation’s fishing practises themselves.

The documentary, Seaspiracy, focused on the extreme consequences of commercial fishing on local ecology. It also spotlighted Thailand’s fishing industry by interviewing former fishing boat workers who said they were trafficked to work on the boats as migrants. The workers said they were living in hell and were modern-day slaves.

In response to the damning allegations by former workers, Pokkhrong says Thailand’s commitment to ending such illegal practices had been recognised by the international community. He says the EU had taken the country off of its yellow-card status in 2019, citing Thailand’s alignment of its legal systems with international obligations to fight IUU fishing.

He says that year Thailand was taken off the yellow-card status, the nation had also set basic decent standards for those working in the fishing industry-a first for Asia. The US’s Trafficking in Persons Report also recognised Thailand for making headway in tackling human trafficking in the past few years.

But the Seafood Working Group has backed up the documentary by proposing the US State Department to downgrade Thailand to the Tier 2 Watchlist again, after the group claimed the recognition of workers’ rights was even more shoddy due to the Covid pandemic.

But Pokkhrong insisted that Thai authorities remained dedicated to promoting sustainable fishing and ending human trafficking in the seafood industry. The documentary, however, pointed to high-level corruption in the police department, with such officials allegedly playing a part in the trafficking of migrant workers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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