Thousands of Unregistered Fishing Trawlers Held in Port

Migrant fishermen from Myanmar unload frozen fish from a Thai fishing boat at a port southwest of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon province in a July 1 file photo. Photo: EPA / Rungroj Yongrit

BANGKOK — Thailand revoked the commercial fishing licenses of 8,024 fishing trawlers today for failing to join a new registration scheme, the navy said.

The move came after the government in July ordered all fishing vessels to register as part of a response to a warning over illegal fishing from the European Union.

The European Union in January threatened an import ban on Thai fishery products unless the country did more to crack down on illegal fishing practices including ocean bottom trawling and the use of push nets.

Those practices were already banned under Thai fishing regulations, but implementation was lax, and to be improved by the new registration scheme.

The ship owners affected by Tuesday's move have "no channel to recover their licenses, and their vessels will remain in harbor" for the time being, Navy spokesman Benjamaporn Wongnakornsawangthat said.

"Over 42,000 other vessels have registered and they will be allowed to continue fishing."

The banned vessels range in size from small two-man fishing boats to 600-ton commercial ships.

Story: DPA / Cod Satrusayang