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Thailand is the world's third largest seafood exporter, but aquatic resources have declined steadily over the past three decades.
Thailand is the world's third largest seafood exporter, but aquatic resources have declined steadily over the past three decades. WWF believes that international certification standards are one of the market-driven tools that help to restore aquatic populations and sustainably manage marine resources. But due to different requirements, the standard is quite high. Therefore, the Fisheries Improvement Program (FIP) was set up to gradually improve fishing conditions and practices in order to move towards the certification standards.
Blue Swimming Crab
WWF has been working with Thai Department of Fisheries, industry, scientists and fishermen to increase the population of blue swimming crab in the sea and reduce the environmental impact of fishing them. The main achievement of fiscal year 2018 was the drafting of the crab fishery management plan, or the Fishery Management Plan (FMP). It is the first such plan to focus on the management of specific aquatic species that covers the indicators according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards for fisheries-specific fishery management systems, including (a) fishing objectives, (b) decision-making processes, (c) compliance and enforcement of laws, and (d) follow-up and evaluation.
The evaluation of the implementation of the first year project has gained level A from fisheryprogress.org, which is a powerful website resource that tracks the progress of FIP projects worldwide. The Blue Swimming Crab Fishing Improvement Program is the first and only FIP in Thailand being reported on this website.
After a joint meeting on the development of the Longtail Tuna Fishing Improvement Project this past year, the stakeholders of the project agreed on an action plan and started to implement the project in May 2018. This led to the signing ceremony for the Joint Declaration on Intent of the Fisheries Improvement Program in the Gulf of Thailand by the Department of Fisheries Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), Thai Tuna Industry Association and WWF.
This declaration of common intent is a standard procedure for strengthening the cooperation and coordination among government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, regional organizations and shareholders in achieving a common goal – the sustainability of longtail tuna resources. The commitment signed by all four participants in Thailand shows that a unified effort can be initiated and applied in sub-regions such as the Gulf of Thailand to improve the current management of longtail tuna.