In recent discussions led by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), alarming revelations emerged regarding rollbacks in Thailand’s fishing industry. These changes, orchestrated by the current administration, pose grave threats to international trade, human rights, and environmental sustainability. As concerned citizens and stakeholders, we must heed the call to action emanating from these discussions and take a stand against these detrimental policies.

The proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act and subordinate regulations are shrouded in opacity, circumventing public scrutiny and accountability. Such clandestine maneuvers undermine the democratic principles that should govern policy-making processes. Transparency is not a luxury but a necessity, especially when decisions have far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems, labor rights, and international relations.

EJF’s analysis exposes a distressing convergence among various drafts, with some proposals veering towards extreme positions. Relaxing regulations on protected species, labor protections, and migrant worker documentation represents a dangerous regression from previous progress. It risks perpetuating human rights abuses and environmental degradation in the name of short-term economic gains.

At the heart of these rollbacks lie concerns about illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. Reviving banned methods like at-sea crew transfer and transshipment threatens to entrench forced labor and perpetuate IUU fishing. By diluting monitoring mechanisms and conservation measures, we risk irreparable harm to marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of countless fisherfolk who depend on them.

Moreover, the implications extend beyond Thailand’s borders. Tighter import regulations in key markets could jeopardize the country’s seafood exports, imperiling its economy and the well-being of those dependent on the industry. The clash with international labor standards underscores the ethical and legal quandaries inherent in these proposed policies.

In the face of these challenges, complacency is not an option. We must mobilize collectively to safeguard the interests of vulnerable communities, protect our shared environment, and uphold the principles of justice and accountability. It is incumbent upon us to engage with policymakers, amplify awareness through media channels, and leverage diplomatic avenues to effect change.

As citizens of a global community, we have a responsibility to hold our leaders accountable and demand policies that prioritize the common good over narrow interests. The time for action is now. Let us stand in solidarity with those affected by these regressive policies and work tirelessly to ensure a future where human rights, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive, but mutually reinforcing.

The post Protecting Thailand’s Fishing Industry and Human Rights appeared first on Thai Enquirer.

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Author: Arun Saronchai