Thai Union Supports New Government Regulation to Protect Workers in Thailand Fishing Industry

Caption: A fisherman is pictured on a vessel in southern Thailand, where Thai Union and Mars Petcare are implementing a digital traceability pilot program. Photo credit: Thai Union

11 MAY 2018, BANGKOK – Thai Union Group PCL supports new regulation from the Thai government requiring Thai vessel owners operating outside of national waters to provide a satellite communication system and device onboard for workers at sea.

The regulation (Ministerial Regulation on Labor Protection in Sea Fishing Work (No. 2) B.E. 2561) states the system must be able to support the transmission of at least a 1 MB text message per person per month for at least one-fourth of workers onboard, and the employer must pay for these devices. The initiative aims to enhance the quality of life for captain and crew by providing a channel of communication to contact families or make a complaint and report any problems that might have occurred at sea.

The development reflects the government’s commitment to protect workers in the fisheries sector from falling victim to forced labor and human trafficking, to improve the management of labor in Thai fisheries to be more effective and to work toward the ratification of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention (C188).

This comes after Thai Union, Mars Petcare and Inmarsat, along with the Department of Fisheries and others, in 2017 launched an innovative digital traceability pilot program ahead of this new regulation. The pilot program was created in line with Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange®.

Inmarsat’s “Fleet One” terminals were successfully installed on fishing vessels in Thailand, while the crew members, captains and fleet owners were trained on “Fish Talk” chat applications developed by Xsense that enable them to connect with families and peers around the world while at sea—an industry first for Thai fisheries.

The pilot program tested scalable platforms for electronic catch data and traceability (eCDT) systems that utilized mobile applications and satellite connectivity, making it possible to demonstrate true electronic end-to-end traceability and supply chain management.

The system gave suppliers the ability to:

  • Improve the efficiency of traceability records validated by fishery managers and manage risk in the supply chain;
  • Demonstrate true electronic end-to-end traceability and supply chain management with linkages to markets such as the United States and European Union to better address concerns with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and labor issues in fisheries;
  • Provide workers with a voice at sea to communicate with loved ones back on shore or raise the flag with authorities in the event of a problem.

“The seafood industry has to continue to work to bring full transparency and digital traceability into the supply chain, and this pilot, as well as the Thai government’s new regulation, are steps in the right direction,” said Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development. “In the long run, traceability will help make the entire fishing industry more sustainable, protecting the environment and workers, while delivering a high-quality products and important nutrition to consumers across the globe.”

To learn more about Thai Union’s digital traceability project, watch this video.

To read more about Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, visit



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 2017, Thai Union was named to the DJSI for the fourth consecutive year. Thai Union is also part of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.


Chris Hughes
Thai Union Group
M: +66.625.94 1.089