EU may ban Thai seafood products over illegal fishing

The European Union is to impose sanctions on fishery products from Thailand if the Thai junta does not make efforts to eradicate illegal fishing.   

According to the BBC Thai Service, the European Union (EU) plans to announce that it will give the Thai government six months to come up with concrete policies to tackle illegal fishing and overfishing in the region.

Failure to do so might result in an EU ban on the export of Thai fishery products to EU member states.

The EU will officially announce the move on Tuesday.

Thailand is a major exporter of seafood products in Southeast Asia with an annual revenue from the industry of nearly 174 billion baht (about 5 billion euros). Annual Thai seafood exports to the EU countries are worth between 19-25 billion baht (about 575-730 million euros), BBC Thai reported.

In October 2014, the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Union issued a letter to the Thai government pointing out many serious problems related to the Thai fishery industry, such as human trafficking, overfishing, and unregistered fishing boats.

The DG MARE, also issued a ‘yellow card’ to warn the Thai government to improve its fishing practices and conditions.

In late March, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, expressed anger and threatened to summon Thapanee Ietsrichaion, a TV journalist from Channel 3, whose report about the plight of Thai workers deceived into slave labour on Thai fishing boats in Indonesian waters stirred anxiety among the Thai authorities and the fishery industry.

The PM said that the news could cause Thailand’s seafood industry to lose business, so "the people who published the news will have to be held responsible," Khaosod English quoted Gen Prayut as saying.