We are excited to congratulate OceanMind, a former business unit of the Satellite Applications Catapult, on their contribution towards the Thai government earning their ‘green card’ for fisheries export. Below is the full announcement.
Thailand has rigorously overhauled and improved its fisheries management and control systems and has now been rewarded with a ‘green card’ from the EU for fisheries exports under the EU regulation to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The EU regulation aims to end IUU fishing by requiring countries which export seafood to the EU to meet certain standards for fisheries control and management. Thailand was issued with a formal warning (yellow card) in 2015 and had it not acted to reform its fisheries management and controls, it could have been banned from exporting to the EU entirely (red card).
Since the yellow carding, Thailand has taken significant steps to improve its fisheries management and exert greater controls on its own vessels as well as foreign vessels landing in Thai ports. These reforms include passing laws which empower greater control, enforcement and surveillance of fishing vessels, as well as higher penalties and sanctions for non-compliance. This decision does not mean that there is no illegal fishing in Thailand and it is up to industry and the government to show these reforms to be sustainable over the long term.
The Royal Thai Government has achieved this especially through working with the private sector, including significant collaboration with the Seafood Task Force, a group of seafood buyers, retailers, processors and non-profits aiming to address issues surrounding labour and illegal fishing in Thailand. This collaboration has supported major improvements in monitoring, control and surveillance capabilities, and transparency in the seafood supply chain to advance the shared goals of sustainable and legal fisheries. OceanMind, a member of the Seafood Task Force, has been working with the Thai Department of Fisheries first hand for three years providing analysis, technology support, and training.
OceanMind’s Chief fisheries analyst, Bradley Soule said “Thailand is thoroughly deserving of this decision. Their determination to enact and enforce fisheries laws has reduced the incidence of illegal fishing by Thai vessels, as well as reduced the likelihood of IUU seafood product being landed or processed in Thailand.”
Bob Miller, a founding member of the Seafood Task Force and Director – CP Foods UK, said “I commend Thailand for its leadership. It has taken giant leaps to tackle illegal fishing and has worked collaboratively with the private sector through the Seafood Task Force to drive positive change.”
A major achievement has been Thailand’s stringent implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), with required risk assessment of all foreign vessels delivering fish to Thailand.
As one of the largest processing countries in the world, this is critically important and Thailand has gone above and beyond the requirements for this agreement, with an inspection and traceability regime that makes it a global leader. Thailand has also focused heavily on establishing the rule of law for its own vessels, such as by reducing the number of licensed vessels, enacting closed areas where fishing is prohibited, and requiring all larger vessels to be properly monitored. These improvements came through both growing human capacity as well as through innovative use of technologies such as machine learning for risk assessments.
As one of the largest seafood processors and exporters in the world, Thailand’s robust fisheries reform has the opportunity to make a global impact on the sustainability of marine resources. However, the work of fisheries management and enforcement is never done. Through continued focus on improvement, Thailand will be a leader in fisheries by showing the power of political will, partnerships, and technology.