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Phuket's fishing industry set for a makeover of illegal crews

Phuket Navy Crackdown Highlights Fishing Illegals

Thursday, July 2, 2009
A SIX-DAY NAVY crackdown on 104 fishing trawlers off the Andaman coast and in the Gulf of Siam produced 1439 illegal crew out of a total of 2031 on board, a conference heard today.

Vice Admiral Narong Teaswisan, Commander in Chief of the Third Navy, said the check from June 24 to June 30 demonstrated the huge scale of illegal workers in the fishing industry.

He said that 1734 of the 2031 found on board were Burmese, 94 Cambodians and 203 Thais.

Only 384 of the overseas workers had correct documentation, and the paperwork for five others was being processed.

Today's conference brought senior Navy officers and fishing industry officials together to share information and attempt to reduce the number of illegal crew members.

Under the new Thailand wide arrangements for the registration of all foreign workers with jobs, owners and crew members on trawlers will have an amnesty period until October 1 to sign up for new ID cards.

''After October 1, the Navy and Marine Police will arrest and deport workers caught illegally in the fishing industry,'' Vice Admiral Narong said.

The President of the Phuket Fisheries' Association, Somyod Wongboonyakul, told the conference at the Merlin Hotel Phuket City that there were about 300 trawlers operating in Phuket waters, employing about 5000 crew.

''We would be happy to employ Thais but we have never been able to find enough people who want to do this work,'' he said.

Owners of fleets of trawlers would like to be able to switch crews from boat to boat as necessary to operate, but the law at present limits each crewman to a specific boat.

Phuket Provincial Employment office now has a data base capable of informing officers at sea via telephone whether a seaman's ID card is genuine or false.

Closer cooperation between the Navy and the employment office is likely to deter smugglers and people-traffickers.

The new workers' ID cards are likely to be color-coded to provide for identification of construction workers, plantation workers, maids and fishing workers, short-voyage and long-voyage.

Cards will all be produced from Bangkok, with data supplied from the provinces.

Because they spend extended periods at sea, fishermen have been given an extra 30 days. But they must register before September 1.

At today's meeting were senior officers from the Navy, which has 12 vessels operating along the Andaman coast, Marine Police, fisheries associations from six provinces, and senior provincial employment officers.

A question about the Rohingya boat people from Phuketwan produced an answer that this was not the appropriate forum for that issue.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Do you think it is normal that the fishing industry destroys all fish stock as they do since many years because:

- Only 10% of Thai people are working on fishing boats and 90% are foreigners according about your article.

- 80% of fish sales are for paying imported diesel.

So at the end how much money is for Thailand and Thai people ? That is the question ?

Does Thailand needs to support a fishing industry as is it today ?

Posted by Whistle-Blower on July 3, 2009 11:48

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