Thailand's deserved lifting of its "Yellow Card" / by Francisco Blaha

I wanted to start 2019 with a good fisheries news, and even if it was on the cards for almost a month know, the news came out yesterday that DG MAERE lifted its “yellow card” card on Thailand.

PSMA for carriers in action

PSMA for carriers in action

And this is good news, not only for Thailand but for fisheries in general and for Tuna in particular. Let me explain:

Back in April 2015, I agreed that that it was a “good” yellow card, Thailand is perhaps the most complex fisheries country of the 58 ones I worked* … it it's a flag, coastal, port and processing state at once and for tuna is “the processing state”, add to that an incredible amount of private ports and thousands of processing establishments from all sizes, which make managing these fishing country as one of the most difficult ones in the world.

Add to that all the issues of eligibility around the DG SANTE side of seafood processing, plus the labour issues arising from migrant issues on and the scenario gets even more difficult

Imagine having to put ALL of the recommendations for Flag, Coastal, Port and Processing State I posted about.

Yet this is pretty much what my friend Dr. Adisorn Promthep, Director – General of the Thailand DoF and a cast of literally thousands did in less than 4 years.

And is no small feat… this is like getting an elephant trough a crystal shop… you know from the begging that there would be a lot broken stuff and really pissed off people that would like to have your head on a plate.

And here they are… they have done it!

well deserved smiles by my colleagues!

well deserved smiles by my colleagues!

I wrote about the bit of work I did with them last year, and how fast and far have they move and how positively surprised I was.

But for me the key issue to celebrate is that Thailand's DoF has shown to the world that with vision, leadership and guidance the most complex fisheries realities can be changed. And if owning the changes wasn’t good enough they have taking on board two massive international commitments on the adherence to the FAO PSMA and ILO 188.  

My biggest take from all this is that, if Thailand with all its intrinsic and unique complexities managed to work it out… then there are no real excuses for any other countries not to do the same.

I can only send my warmest regards for this long awaited, hardly fought totally deserved good news to all the colleagues and friends I worked with there… from PSM to catch accountancy, from VMS and IAS to EU eligibility, from licensing to landing controls… to all of you:  ขอแสดงความยินดี! (Congratulations!)

don’t be fooled… looks simple but there are 6 international jurisdictions in this image! Nothing is simple in Fisheries

don’t be fooled… looks simple but there are 6 international jurisdictions in this image! Nothing is simple in Fisheries

*(may be China would be more complex… but for different reasons)