The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, on behalf of the Royal Thai Government, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) co-organised the International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing or IUU DAY on 5 June 2019 at the Department of Fisheries, Bangkok.
The objective of the event was to raise public awareness of the measures to combat IUU fishing at the national, regional and international levels as well as to showcase the Royal Thai Government’s success and continuous efforts in combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. These efforts resulted in the elevation of the Thai fishing industry standard to those of international standards which ensure the sustainable use of marine resources. The participants included representatives from the diplomatic corps, international organisations related to fishery management, government and private sectors, as well as academia and civil society organisations.
H.E. General Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, chaired the IUU Day and delivered opening remarks, emphasising the importance of 5 June 2017, the day in which the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA) entered into force. The said agreement is an important measure for port states to ensure that no IUU aquatic animals and fisheries products can enter into their territories. The Royal Thai government has placed utmost importance on regional cooperation to abolish IUU fishing by establishing an ad-hoc working group on IUU fishing to exchange information and build networks with other countries, and stands ready to cooperate with international organisations to create mechanisms to completely eliminate IUU fishing.
H.E. Mr. Kritsada Boonrach, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, emphasised that Thailand attaches great importance to the development of fisheries in a responsible manner by carrying out fisheries reform and the management of aquatic resources using the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) assessment and an efficient oversight of the fishing fleet. These measures have led to the full and complete restoration of Thailand’s fisheries resources. Furthermore, Thailand, as a producer, processor, and one of the main importers of aquatic goods in the world, announced the “IUU-Free Thailand” policy to support IUU-free fishing and its products which leads to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal no. 14 “Life below Water”.
Furthermore, representatives from International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and representatives from Asia-Pacific countries i.e., Australia, United States of America, the Maldives, Vietnam and the Philippines, delivered their remarks, emphasising the importance of combatting IUU fishing and strengthening the cooperation among agencies to prevent environmental, economic and social problems related to IUU fishing.
Moreover, the Royal Thai Government has pushed forward the implementation of extensive measures to tackle the problem of IUU fishing on the international stage which have gained international recognition such as the ASEAN General Fisheries Policy, Thailand’s accession to the United Nations Fish Stock Agreement (UNFSA), the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA), and the signing of Memorada of Understanding on Fisheries with other countries such as the Philippines, Japan and other countries in the region. All these efforts have built a solid foundation towards sustainable fishing and reiterated Thailand’s readiness to join force with the international community to protect marine resources and to lead the Thai and global fishing industries towards sustainability which will result in food security for the entire world.