Illustrative image (Source: undercurrentnews.com)

Hanoi (VNA) – Thailand welcomed a decision by the European Commission (EC) on January 9 to drop the Southeast Asian nation from a list of countries it had warned over illegal and unregulated fishing.

“Since the yellow card was issued, the Commission and Thailand have engaged in a constructive process of cooperation and dialogue,” the EC said in a statement on January 8 announcing its decision.

This has resulted in a major upgrade of the Thai fisheries governance, in accordance with the international commitments of the country.

The EC now sees Thailand as “a new committed partner” in the fight against fishing practices that deplete global fish stocks and harm the global community of those who make their living from the sea, it added. 

In 2015, Thailand received a “yellow card” warning from the EC over unsustainable fishing practices, which carries the threat of a European ban on the exports. The move prompted a major crackdown by Thailand’s Government on illegal fishing and an overhaul of the industry.

“There have been sacrifices and adjustments made to the way fishing was conducted,” said deputy spokesman of the Thai Government Werchon Sukhondhapatipak.

Thailand’s fishing industry has a responsibility at all levels to the environment and the world through more sustainable fishing practices in line with international standards, he added.

The measures Thailand adopted ranged from new rules to vessel monitoring systems, as well as a satellite-based system tracking the movements of fishing boats, enforced by the Royal Thai Navy.

The country also toughened labour regulations to combat human trafficking and the ill-treatment of migrant workers, improving the situation of more than 300,000 citizens of neighbouring countries employed in the Thai fishing industry.

Thai seafood exports stood at 2.1 billion USD in 2017, according to data from the Thai Ministry of Commerce, finally recovering to their 2014 level after a drop in 2015 to 1.8 billion USD following the EC warning.

About 9.9 percent of Thai seafood exports went to the EU last year, versus 10.3 percent in 2014.

Thailand’s private sector also welcomed the EC decision, saying the reforms will greatly benefit the fishing industry. –VNA