Fishing boats for sale as strict IUU fishing rules make business unviable

“Thai’s fishing industry is dying. Commercial fishing is down 60% and catches are less than 40% of the previous amount,” Mongkol said.

“Thailand will soon have to import seafood for domestic consumption,” he added.

Fishing boats purchased by the government will be removed from the system in order to achieve the country’s Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) set by the National Fisheries Policy Council. MSY is the largest average catch that can be taken from a stock under existing environmental conditions.

Of the 792 fishing boats to be sold to the government, 766 are licensed for commercial fishing while the other 26 are unlicensed.

The boats come from Bangkok and the seaside provinces of the central region, the east coast and the south.

Pattani accounts for most of them, with 164 fishing boats offered for sale, followed by Samut Prakan (116), Samut Songkhram (109), Nakhon Si Thammarat (94) and Chumphon (65).

IUU fishing is a global problem, as industry observers believe it occurs in most fisheries, accounting for up to 30% of total catches in some major fisheries.

Under the ‘card system’ adopted by the European Union to combat the scourge of illegal fishing, Thailand received a ‘yellow card’ as a warning of potential EU sanctions for ignoring the IUU fishing. EU action in 2015 prompted the Thai government to get tougher with the fishing industry.