THAILAND :Public and private sectors in Thailand working together to end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) have achieved "tangible" progress although they still need to work more to attain "IUU-free status," argue the managers of Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF).
The firm highlights that Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world and that over 2 million people, including locals and migrant workers from neighbour countries, are working in the industry.
“With outdated regulations, and lack of effective monitoring system, the workers became vulnerable targets for slavery and other unfair treatments,” CPF statement points out.
From the company it is recalled that the turning point came in 2015, when the EU issued the “yellow card” to pressure Thailand on modern slavery issues.
Since then, the Thai government led by the Department of Fisheries has been cooperating with domestic companies, local fisheries, NGOs and partners across the world to set up the new fishery standards to ensure that all labours working in the industry are treated fairly and in line with internationally-recognized practices. The cooperation led to the new fisheries and maritime laws in 2015.
CFP states that the new laws provide up-to-dated and effective framework as well as clearer definitions to prevent legal loopholes. Furthermore, the new legislations have more serious punishments and enforcement. More than 4,200 cases were prosecuted by these new laws.
The monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) system is upgraded and the Port In – Port Out (PIPO) Control Centres are set up nationwide, forcing all Thai vessels to report to the PIPO centres for inspections such as registrar, license, gear and fishermen’s work permits to detect suspicious activities.
In addition, Thailand has developed a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to monitor real-time activities of fishing vessels with the private sector such as CPF.
CFP serves as one of the members of the Board of Directors of the Seafood Task Force and has an important role in driving supply chain management by utilizing technology to monitor vessel behaviour.
In the statement, CPF stresses its efforts to implement 100 per cent auditing of critical suppliers on sustainability aspects covering environmental, human rights, and labour issues, specifically on fishmeal suppliers within 2020. It is noted that fishmeal is one of the ingredients it uses in its shrimp feed production and it is the only linkage between the Company and the ocean.
The company also outlines that it has encouraged and supported its fishmeal suppliers to develop sustainability in the supply chain as well as at the origin of raw material under the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization Responsible Supply standard (IFFO RS) and that at present, 100 per cent of fishmeal used in its operation in Thailand is already certified IFFO RS and totally come from the by-product of fish-processing plants.
Finally, CFP adds that the significant progress in Thailand fishery industry has been recognized by several high-profile organizations such as European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries (PECH), the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.