Thai fisheries alliance declares progress on sustainability

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An alliance between the Thai fishery industry and the government has reported progress in its efforts to clean up Thailand’s fishing sector.

The Thai Sustainable Fisheries Roundtable (TSFR) said this week it is working on projects to develop sustainable fisheries in both the Andaman sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

The European Union has slapped a yellow flag on Thai seafood exports, threatening penalties unless Thailand tackles its illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing problems.

“The TSFR is cooperating with the Department of Fisheries to promote fishery development, such as using eco-friendly shrimp feed and Thai shrimp farming development to reduce waste,” its latest report said.

“This will enable the country to gain acceptance from foreign organisations, such as the European Union and US Monterey Bay Aquarium.”

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch project has set up three recommendations for consumption of prawns, of which Thailand is the world’s leading exporter.

“Green” is the best choice for consumption as the product comes from eco-friendly farms or businesses.

“Yellow” is a good alternative as the product comes from farms or businesses which prioritise fishery management.

“Red” indicates consumers should avoid the product as it comes from businesses that cause environmental damage.

“The project evaluated Thai shrimp farm as ‘yellow’ after the TSFR developed various aspects of fisheries, especially in procuring fishmeal for shrimp feed to reduce environmental impacts on communities,” the report said. The aim now was to secure a “green” rating for Thai shrimp farms to appeal to consumers worldwide, it added.


TSFR is an eight-member alliance of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand, Thai Overseas Fisheries Association, Thai Fishmeal Producers Association, Thai Feed Mill Association, Thai Frozen Foods Association, Thai Shrimp Association, Thai Tuna Industry Association and Thai Food Processors’ Association.

Meanwhile, Sujint Thammasart, Aquaculture Business chief operating officer at Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), said the company’s fishmeal procurement policy was to avoid environmental damage.

“Currently, the company uses fishmeal [made only from] fish caught under the MarinTrust Standard Version 2.0, in line with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries,” he said.

He added that the company was one of the initiators of the Fishery Improvement Project to develop fisheries in Andaman sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

“Also, we cooperated with MarinTrust to develop mixed trawl fishery evaluation criteria to make a fishery standard for Asean countries, covering engagement from supply chain stakeholders, such as government and private sector.”