According to the press release, the Commission acknowledges 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 IUU fishing.
The decision on January 8, 2019 reverses the first step of a process that could have led to a complete import ban of marine fisheries products into the EU.
Since the yellow card was issued, the Commission and Thailand have engaged in a constructive process of cooperation and dialogue.
This has resulted in a major upgrade of the Thai fisheries governance in accordance with the international commitments of the country.
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.
This includes remote monitoring of fishing activities and a robust scheme of inspections at port.
With these measures, the release says that Thai authorities now have all the necessary policies in place to prevent, deter, and eliminate IUU 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.