EU lifts yellow-card for Thai fish
On January 8, the European Commission acknowledged that Thailand has successfully addressed the shortcomings in its fisheries legal and administrative systems. For this reason, it lifts the so-called "yellow card", in place since April 2015, a warning from the EU that the country at the time was not sufficiently tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The decision reverses the first step of a process that could have led to a complete import ban of marine fisheries products into the EU.
European Commissioner for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing damages global fish stocks but it also hurts the people living from the sea, especially those already vulnerable to poverty. Fighting illegal fishing is, therefore, a priority for the EU. I am excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight."
Thailand has amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law of the sea instruments. It has reinforced compliance with its obligations as a flag, port, coastal and market State, included clear definitions in its legislation and set up a deterrent regime of sanctions. Moreover, it has reinforced the mechanisms of control of the national fishing fleet and enhanced its monitoring, control and surveillance systems.
With these measures, Thai authorities now have all the necessary policies in place to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Thailand plays a central role in the international supply chain for fisheries products. The highly developed Thai processing industry relies on raw materials from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. As party to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization Port States Measures Agreement, Thailand has reinforced controls over landings of foreign fishing vessels in Thai ports and strengthened cooperation with flag States in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The reinforcement of the fisheries legal and administrative systems in Thailand could, therefore, trigger a multiplier effect in the global sustainability of fisheries resources.
The Commission also recognises the efforts demonstrated by Thailand to tackle human trafficking and to improve labour conditions in the fishing sector.
The global value of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated at 10-20 billion euros per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally a year, corresponding to at least 15% of world catches. The EU is the world's biggest importer of fisheries products.
Fighting illegal fishing is part of the EU's commitment to ensure sustainable use of the sea and its resources, under the common fisheries policy. It is also an important pillar of the EU's ocean governance strategy, aiming to improve the international governance of the oceans.
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