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EU warning to Thais over illegal fishing, migrant abuse


Myanmar migrant workers check and fold the fishing nets after they unload the catch at the fishing port on Si Rae island, off Phuket, southern Thailand. Photo: Barbara Walton/EPA

Myanmar migrant workers check and fold the fishing nets after they unload the catch at the fishing port on Si Rae island, off Phuket, southern Thailand. Photo: Barbara Walton/EPA 

Thailand has expressed deep disappointment after the European Union issued a final warning, a so-called "yellow card" to the country, and gave Thailand six months to drastically improve measures against illegal fishing and problems of human trafficking or face an import ban, reports the Bangkok Post April 22. 

"Although the yellow card does not introduce trade sanctions on European imports of Thai fishery products, it has been a source of grave discouragement that the EU chose to ignore the very earnest efforts of the past six months by the Royal Thai Government in addressing all issues which once were deemed the causes of illegal, unreported and unregulated [IUU] fishing," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued April 21 following the EU decision. 

Thailand has long been under fire over its illegal fishing practices and bad treatment of fishermen, many of who are Myanmar migrants.

The ministry said Thailand takes allegations of IUU fishing very seriously. The measures which were implemented by the government include structural changes, legal amendments and passage of new laws, prosecution, and preventive measures as major instruments. 

"Thailand is deeply disappointed at the EU's decision," the statement said. 

More importantly, the EU's decision reflects its failure to recognise the longstanding cooperation between Thailand and EU authorities, the statement added. 

The Thai government says it has had done many things to deal with the problems including registering 1.6 million migrant workers but these have not yet satisfied the demands of foreign countries due to a lack of effective public relations.

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