Caption: A fisherman is pictured using a mobile phone on a Thai fishing boat in southern Thailand, where Thai Union and Mars Petcare are implementing a digital traceability pilot program which will enhance human rights and provide workers with a voice at sea. Photo credit: Thai Union
8 JANUARY 2019, BANGKOK - Thai Union Group PCL is pleased the European Union (EU) decided to lift the yellow card on Thailand. The fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has been ongoing in Thailand and Thai Union is proud to have worked with the Royal Thai Government to promote positive changes in the Thai fishing industry.
"I want to congratulate the Royal Thai Government for its efforts to bring change to the country in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing," said Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO at Thai Union. "The improvements to regulation and enforcement of the fishing industry have been significant, not only in terms of traceability and the sustainable development of the fisheries but also in terms of eliminating human rights violations."
The yellow carding process created an opportunity for Thailand to lead the way in fisheries reform in the region and the Royal Thai Government should be commended for its work, stated Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director of Sustainable Development at Thai Union.
For example, requiring bank accounts and electronic payment transfers for migrant workers in Thailand's fishing industry helped promote human rights and safeguard workers through greater transparency and fairness.
"We know this is effective because Thai Union transitioned workers across our global operations to electronic payments several years ago - including 100 percent of our workforce in Thailand," said McBain. "I can share from our experience that digital payments not only promote inclusive finance but also empower women with more control over family finances. This in turn increases their personal security and economic empowerment."
Thailand's Department of Fisheries also supported an innovative digital traceability pilot project which Thai Union implemented in 2017. The pilot utilized mobile applications and satellite connectivity on Thai fishing vessels, boosting human rights for workers on vessels as well as transparency of fishing data capture.
Indicative of how significant connectivity at sea is, the Royal Thai Government last year announced a provision in new regulation mandating Thai vessel owners operating outside of national waters must provide a satellite communication system and device onboard for workers at sea.
"Thailand's involvement in the Bali Process should be applauded as well," said McBain. "It provides a platform for governments to engage the private sector on how to best combat human trafficking, forced labor and related exploitation."
Looking ahead, Thai Union anticipates the development will help in promoting seafood trade to the EU from Thailand.
Thai Union owns several prominent European seafood brands. These brands include John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Hawesta, Lysell and Mareblu. Thai Union also owns King Oscar in Norway and holds a majority share of Rügen Fisch AG in Germany. In Europe, Thai Union companies employ people across production sites in France, Norway, Poland and Portugal; as well as commercial entities in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
ABOUT THAI UNION GROUP
Thai Union Group PCL is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for more than 40 years.
Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 135 billion (US$ 4.03 billion) and a global workforce of over 49,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Qfresh, Monori, Bellotta and Marvo.
As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy.
Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized by its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets (DJSI) in 2014. In 2018, Thai Union was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth straight year, as well as rated No. 1 in the Food Products Industry. Thai Union is also part of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index and the winner of many awards for its leading work on sustainability
Global Head of Sustainability and Innovation Communications