Thailand: Intl. seafood buyers urge govt. to stay strong in transition towards ethical & sustainable fishing sector

Global retailers and buyers sourcing seafood from Thailand have called on the government to safeguard major reforms in the fishing industry amidst fears of back-tracking. Signatories of an open letter to the Thai government, which include Aldi, Lidl, Tescos, Whole Foods and Albertsons, as well as the Ethical Trading Initiative and the Seafood Ethics Action Alliance, have urged the government to maintain reforms and have reaffirmed their readiness "to assist in achieving successful outcomes for all key statkeholders". 

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12 February 2020

Global retailers & buyers urge Thai govt. to continue path of reform towards ethical & sustainable fishing sector

Author: Toan Dao, SeafoodSource

“International seafood buyers urge Thailand to stand strong on fisheries reforms”, 11 February 2020

Several retailers and buyers sourcing seafood from Thailand have called on the [government]…to preserve major regulations in the fisheries sector amidst fears that recently-made reforms may be rolled back. In an open letter…the buyers said they “urge the…Thai government to continue the path of reform and…transition towards a legal, ethical and sustainable fishing sector”.

The Thai government has made progress in protecting the marine environment and workers from exploitation, the letter said,…add[ing]…that the buyers will continue to monitor and support collaboration between the government, seafood suppliers, and civil society organizations. Oxfam America Senior Advisor Art Prapha said the letter is part of an effort to protect an estimated 650,000 workers, including large numbers of migrant laborers, from exploitation and abuse.

[Ethical Trading Initiative]…and 23 other organizations, all members of the Seafood Working Group, had released a joint statement in December last year…[calling]on the Thai government to take actions to…reinstat[e]…reforming labor legislation, [end]…judicial harassment of…defenders and collaborat[e] with worker organizations to end labor exploitation.  

Due to progress made by the Thai government in taking on labor issues and illegal, unreported, and unregulated…fishing,…the [EU] Commission removed its yellow card from Thailand. But its tough measures resulted in protests from fishermen affected [who]…demanded…the government…ease fishing restrictions, address labor shortages, and assist with the sector’s mounting debt. The Thai government has since eased a number of anti-IUU regulations following the protests, and has offered compensation to fishermen…

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6 February 2020

Intl. seafood buyers' open letter supporting Thai govt. fishery reforms

Author: Albertsons Companies, Aldi Nord, Aldi South, Cargill, EDEKA, Ethical Trading Initiative, Kroger, Lidl International, Morrisons, REWE Group, Sainsbury’s, Seafood Ethics Action Alliance (SEA Alliance), Tesco, Waitrose, Whole Foods

"International Buyers’ Open Letter on Preserving Thailand’s Fishery Reforms", 6 February 2020

[We], the undersigned businesses, congratulate the Royal Thai government on its significant efforts to reform and rectify key pieces of legislation which have resulted in positive developments in Thailand's fishing practices. As current or potential international buyers of seafood products from Thailand, we continue to monitor and support collaboration between the government, seafood suppliers and civil society organizations to ensure that these crucial reforms continue, progress and be implemented effectively...

We urge the... government to continue the path of reform and work constructively with national actors to achieve a transition towards a legal, ethical and sustainable fishing sector. We... stand with the Thai government in supporting the details of this transition and stand ready to assist in achieving successful outcomes.

[Signatories]: Albertsons Companies; Aldi Nord; Aldi South; Cargill; EDEKA; Ethical Trading Initiative; Kroger; Lidl International; Morrisons; REWE Group; Sainsbury’s; Seafood Ethics Action Alliance (SEA Alliance); Tesco; Waitrose; Whole Foods

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