EU Lifts Long-Standing Warning Against Thai Fishing Industry

Navy officials in Chonburi province seize fishing boats that fail to comply with fishery regulations in May 2016.

BANGKOK — The European Union announced Tuesday that it has lifted its warning over Thai fishing products, citing improvements in labor practices.

Nearly four years after it issued a “Yellow Card” and warned it might boycott Thailand’s fishery, the European Commission said sufficient steps have been taken to combat overfishing, the use of slave labor and unsafe fishing boats.

“I am excited that today we have a new committed partner in this fight,” EU’s commissioner of environment and maritime affairs, Karmenu Vella, said in a statement.

The commission will continue to work with Thailand to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU, the statement added.


Speaking in Brussels, deputy prime minister Chatchai Sarikulya said Thailand was gratified by the European Union’s decision.


“Thailand designated IUU issues as the top national agenda,” Gen. Chatchai, who oversees a committee tackling fishery violations, told reporters. “I believe Thailand has now laid down the foundations to completely prevent IUU.”

The statement was issued Tuesday afternoon and there was no immediate reaction from Thai officials.

The Yellow Card was issued in April 2015 after years of documented violations in the Thai industry. The ruling junta responded by forcing fishing boats to be equipped with GPS and logbooks, raiding suspected human trafficking rings and requiring higher standards be met across the board.