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Marine police alert for EU fishing checks

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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Marine police alert for EU fishing checks
The Nation / Phuket Gazette


PHUKET: In a bid to improve Thailand’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing problems ahead of the upcoming inspection by representatives from the European Union (EU), coastal provinces such as Chon Buri and Songkhla yesterday launched checks on migrant workers and fishing vessels.

In Chon Buri’s Sattahip district, marine police divided into two teams for the operation – one on foot to inspect the piers in Ban Chong Saem San community and the other on boats to check on 10 fishing vessels in Saem San Bay.

They found all trawlers and migrant workers to have proper documents, said Marine Police Station 3 inspector Lt Col Patiya Khemlai.

Marine Police Division 5 commander Col Chatchai Chatiwet said the operation in Chon Buri followed the government’s instruction for all agencies to integrate and solve the IUU fishing issues as well as human trafficking.

Chon Buri reported a total of 1,800 registered fishing vessels and the provincial authority had issued 1,264 fishing licences.

In Songkhla’s Muang district, marine police and related agencies launched a similar operation by setting up checkpoints at piers and inspecting fishing boats as well as co-ordinating with the Songkhla Fishing Association in checking on fishing boat crew members prior to departure.

Marine Police Division 7 commander Col Wasan Kesarak said police would check if fishing trawlers had proper licences and if all crew members were legal. Col Wasan also thanked all parties for co-operating with the police inspections.

The EU recently gave Thailand six months, starting from April, to comply with its IUU fishing regulations.

If Thailand failed to adhere to the IUU rules – which required countries sending fishery exports to the EU to verify that such products were from fishing boats that complied with regulations against forced labor and underage workers – it could face a ban on its fishery exports.

Thailand currently is the third largest seafood exporter – after Norway and China – to the lucrative 28-country EU market.

The first group of EU officials is expected to visit Thailand next month to inspect fishing vessels and follow up on the installation of global positioning system (GPS) equipment on board all vessels, as they want to ensure that illegal and unreported fishing is reduced.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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