The European Union warned Thailand on Tuesday to take “swift and determined action” by next month to improve its fisheries and labour practices or face a serious economic threat of an EU ban on Thai seafood.
The bloc’s fisheries and social affairs chiefs, in a letter Tuesday to Thai Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, said talks in July in Bangkok on fighting fish fraud and labour abuses “will be a crucial opportunity for Thailand to present concrete and robust measures”.
The letter was signed by both Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella and Social Affairs Commissioner Marianne Thyssen.Despite months of talks, the 28-nation EU is not satisfied with progress to end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the world’s third-largest seafood exporter.
Illegal labour practices in Thailand amounting in some cases to slave labour have only exacerbated the problem.The letter said barring a breakthrough on the issue next month and “tangible progress” by year’s end, a ban might follow.The Thai government has already promised to improve both its fishing and labour practices. The EU now wants to see that turned into reality.