EJF: Thailand still faces 'urgent need to reform'

Visit last week showed progress but also 'shortcomings.'

Last week, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) met with Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan in Bangkok to discuss illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, human trafficking and labor abuse.

The discussions revolved around efforts by the Royal Thai government to address these issues.

“Although the Thai government has made progress in reforming Thailand’s fisheries laws there is still much more that needs to be done to fill urgent capacity gaps on the ground that prevent authorities from effectively combatting these pressing issues,” said EJF Executive Director Steve Trent.

“There is also an urgent need to reform Thai labor laws to protect the vulnerable migrant workforce. If Thailand commits to meaningful and sustained change then it could become a regional and even international leader in sustainable and ethical fisheries management.”

The EJF claims Thailand's implementation of labor and fisheries inspections for vessels are often inconsistent, lack communication and translation services and coherent enforcement.

Similar shortcomings continue to impede the effectiveness and quality of the vessel monitoring system and actions to establish a sustainable fisheries management plan, the NGO said.

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