EU Maintains Close Watch on Thailand for Signs of Progress on Fishing and Democracy

Jun 02, 2016, 08:19 ET from EU Reporter

BRUSSELS, June 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Thailand has been put on formal notice that it faces a potentially crippling exports ban unless further action is taken to tackle fishing irregularities.

The European Union says that it is dissatisfied with progress made in improving conditions in the Thai fishing sector.

Brussels has now given Thailand another six months to end illegal fishing over a year after the European Commission threatened Bangkok with a trade ban.

A source at the European External Action Service (EEAS) said no decision had yet been taken on a red card, or export ban.

"But," cautioned the spokesman, "we keep the yellow card and continue the dialogue with the Thai authorities."

The EEAS says it will wait to see if "enough progress has been made" before it reaches a decision on whether to remove the yellow card.

Since receiving the warning from the EU in April 2015, an EU source said that several issues have yet to be addressed, particularly the installation of tracking systems on fishing trawlers and the enforcement of laws.

The Thai authorities are making more regular checks on vessels and demanded employers give workers written contracts but the issue for many MEPs are human rights on boats, including labour abuses and human traffickers selling people on to boats.

The EU's yellow card is seen as having been a "wakeup call" to deal with an obsolete fisheries law and if it fails to address the issue, Thailand risks getting a red card, which means the EU would ban the country's seafood imports.

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SOURCE EU Reporter