Cabinet gives preliminary approval to revamp Fisheries Act of 2015

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The proposed revision to the Fisheries Act of 2015 yesterday received preliminary approval from the Cabinet. The government aims to ease the challenges encountered by the fishing industry and foster more efficient and sustainable fishing practices.

The proposed changes are expected to provide relief to over 600,000 small-scale coastal fishing households in 20 provinces, many of whom were compelled to leave the profession due to stringent regulations, according to government spokesperson, Chai Wacharonke.

Despite previous amendments made in 2017 to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices imposed by trading partners, the difficulties faced by the industry have not been effectively mitigated.

“The government sees it as imperative to reduce the impact on local fisheries and emphasise sustainable practices. A key change includes the requirement for local fisheries registration, limited to Thai nationals only. Penalties for violations will focus primarily on confiscating licences, specifically for vessels found in breach.”

He further added that the amendments will allow small-scale fisheries to pass on licenses of vessels under 10 tonnes to their successors, which was previously restricted. The amendments aim to establish distinct rules for large-scale commercial fishing and small-scale coastal fishing. The Council of State has been instructed by the cabinet to review the specifics to ensure the draft is enhanced and aligned with international regulations on IUU fishing.

Within a month, the revised draft will be resubmitted to the Cabinet for another review. Once the Cabinet gives its approval, the draft will be forwarded to the Parliament for discussion.


As the former chair of the marine fisheries committee, Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai highlighted that these amendments aim to repeal unjust executive decrees. The amendments need to be parallel with negotiations with overseas counterparts to secure acceptance of Thai principles.

The objective is to strike a balance that benefits everyone, restoring fairness to local fishermen and revitalising the local fishing industry, said Phumtham.

The minister’s advisor, Plodprasop Suraswadi, will spearhead a delegation to negotiate with the EU regarding the amendment of IUU rules to align with the market reality in Thailand. The Thai delegation will seek flexibility from the EU and ensure alignment with the market reality, aiming to enhance the living standards of Thai fishermen, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, Thai Union Group’s CEO, Thiraphong Chansiri, doubled the SeaChange initiative to US$200 million, emphasising sustainability in sourcing, climate action, and ethical labour practices.

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