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Massive Wave of Change: Thailand’s Fishery Laws Under Siege – Business Survival or Environmental Disaster Looms?

As advocated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, a revision to the current fishery related legislation is in its commencement phase. This revision has been introduced with an intent to alleviate the fiscal setbacks distressing the fisherman who imply that the severe rules and regulations have lowered the potentiality of their livelihoods. The Minister, Thammanat Prompow, not only acknowledges but also stipulates the constraints raised by the fishing communities strongly claiming that the reasonable functionality of their business has been critically affected by the relentlessly rigid Fisheries Act.

This particular fisheries law, initially introduced to decimate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Thailand, has received backlashes for its relentless rigidness. Thus, as a counteractive measure, The Ministry has instituted a committee to investigate the validity of these concerns, as per The Minister’s briefing. Furthermore, Thammanat implied that this committee will be composed of delegates from the various governing bodies, business sectors, and civil societies. The preliminary meeting for this deep dive research into these allegations is said to have been planned for this week.

Identifying the importance and impact of the fisheries sector towards Thailand’s economic growth, Thammanat highlighted the contributory results of approximately 130.3 billion baht to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the past year. This substantial contribution can partly be accredited to the Department of Fisheries’ efforts to enhance fishery stocks and their collaboration with local communities aimed at the conservation of marine life.

A higher official from the Department added that the committee will analyse the issues causing restrictions to the fishing businesses, particularly highlighting the hefty penalties on rule violators, as reported by the Bangkok Post. Moreover, the committee delineates plans to liaise with international organisations like the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to ensure that the suggested alterations do not retaliate against Thailand’s pledge to eradicate IUU fishing.

Indicating approval and support, Mongkol Sukcharoenkana, The President of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, stated that the reappraisal and refining of certain rules that currently cause difficulties would potentially benefit the fishing industry. Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who had been earnest to address this industry’s grievances, replied to this outcry in response to the representatives, expressing a strong consensus to revise the laws, abiding by the urgent necessity to alleviate the impacts caused by the restrictions introduced to counter Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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