Thailand’s fisheries law amendment to ease fishermen’s concerns

Photo: Bangkok Post.

A proposed amendment to the fisheries law by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is underway, designed to alleviate the economic issues plaguing fishermen who assert that their livelihoods are compromised by stringent regulations.

Thammanat Prompow, the Minister, acknowledges the concerns raised by fishing communities, who claim to be adversely impacted by the Fisheries Act. This fisheries law, originally instituted to curb Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Thailand, has drawn criticism for its severity. In response, the ministry has established a committee to investigate these concerns, as announced by Thammanat.

He further elaborated that the committee would comprise representatives from the government, business sector, and civil society, and is scheduled for its inaugural meeting this week.

Thammanat emphasised the significance of the fisheries sector in propelling economic growth, citing its contribution of approximately 130.3 billion baht to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the previous year. This was partly attributed to the Department of Fisheries’ efforts to augment fish stocks and collaborate with local communities to conserve marine life.

A senior official from the department shared that the committee will be examining issues that hinder fishing businesses, including the high penalties imposed on rule violators, reported Bangkok Post.

Additionally, the committee plans to engage with international organisations, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, to ensure that any proposed alterations do not impede Thailand’s commitment to combating IUU fishing.

The president of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, Mongkol Sukcharoenkana, expressed his association’s support for these proposed changes, stating that certain regulations pose difficulties for fishing.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has pledged to address the issues afflicting the fisheries industry. This decision came in response to calls from industry representatives, who have urged the newly formed government to revise laws aimed at alleviating the impact of restrictions imposed to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Read more HERE.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.