Royal Thai Government on how Governments Play a Vital Role in Helping Industry Meet the Needs of International Importers and Consumers
The Royal Thai Government’s Department of Fisheries has been working with the Seafood Task Force for seven years. Prioritising sustainable resource management across their production chains, they have a proud record of achievement and are determined to remain a key partner with the STF on its programme of continued improvements. Dr. Taworn Thunjai, Deputy Director General , speaks about the value he sees in that partnership and the vital role that Governments can play in helping industry meet the needs of importers and consumers across the world.
As one of the world’s largest seafood exporters, my country has always aimed to understand and meet the needs of global importers and consumers.
Working with the Seafood Task Force, which comprises some of the world’s largest retailers, seafood brands and their supply chain partners, including leading Thai producers, processors and exporters, is critical to achieving that.
We share a common aim and we have been able to work together towards the prevention, deterrence and elimination of IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing in Thailand and to tackle other key social and environmental issues.
Thanks to their guidance and expertise, we have been able to meet the requirements of the Seafood Import Marketing Programme, allowing us to export shrimp to the United States, and receive a “green card” from the EU under IUU fishing regulations, ensuring another vital export market remains open to us.
Our work on fisheries improvements, vessel monitoring, port control, inspection at sea, traceability systems and labour protection has transformed Thailand’s seafood industry. New smart phone technology also means that our inspection and traceability systems can now be accessed online – reducing paperwork and improving efficiency.
The support and assistance of STF members has been invaluable across all these initiatives, ensuring that our officers benefit from shared knowledge and expertise. Being a part of the Task Force also means that we are constantly updated on standards which might be required from importing countries in the future, ensuring that farmers, businesses and the Government can be prepared.
Thailand is proud to be the host country for the newly-formed ASEAN (Association of South East Nations) Network for combatting IUU fishing, through which member states - including the world’s largest exporters of seafood – a platform developed for sharing information and best practice. This demonstrates, we believe, the vital role governments can play in helping their countries’ key industries to tackle challenges and embrace opportunities.
Thailand’s trading partners are now more confident to work with us, bringing vital export income back to Thailand to drive the country’s economy. We are restoring our country’s reputation as one of the world’s largest seafood producers and reclaiming our place in the global market.
Our achievements have been driven by the Government, private and public sectors, NGOs and academic institutions, with STF’s invaluable leadership and support. It is a true collaboration - one we are proud to be part of and through which we will continue to make positive and sustainable change.
The views in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the STF.