EU lifts Thailand from illegal fishing warning list

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union (EU) yesterday struck Thailand from its warning list for illegal fishing in recognition of efforts to tackle unregulated over-fishing.

“Fighting illegal fishing is… a priority for the EU. I am excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight,” the EU’s Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said in a statement.

Thailand is the world’s third largest exporter of seafood – a status that rights groups said is achieved through illegal overfishing and a reliance on low-paid trafficked workers from neighbouring countries.

The EU in 2015 imposed a ‘yellow card’ warning on Thailand, threatening to ban all seafood exports unless the military government tackled rampant illegal fishing and labour abuses among its fleets.

The junta government of General Prayuth Chan-ocha has struggled to revive the kingdom’s slumping economy and is desperate to avoid any costly sanctions on the vital sector.

The EU, a market of 500 million consumers, is the world’s biggest importer of fisheries products.