Thailand Department of Fisheries Identifies Opportunities to Improve Catch Documentation, Traceability, and Fisheries Management
Thailand is one of many countries in Southeast Asia with a strong interest in improving the sustainable management of the country’s fisheries. Since 2017, the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) has been collaborating with the Thailand Department of Fisheries (DOF) to develop and implement a robust national electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) system. In pursuit of this goal, on October 31, 2019, USAID Oceans, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, and the Thailand DOF held a Fisheries Value Chain Analysis Workshop.
The workshop, co-facilitated by USAID Oceans and Resonance Global, built on a CDT gap analysis and validation workshop that USAID Oceans and the Thailand DOF held earlier in the year. October’s Value Chain Analysis Workshop convened actors throughout the fisheries supply chain that are involved in using CDT data. Participants discussed what data should be captured at each node in the supply chain; identified the benefits data can have for both the government and private sector; discussed data collection, validation, and integration throughout the supply chain; and determined ways CDT can improve human welfare in the industry.
The highly interactive meeting included group activities where participants identified strategic issues in Thailand’s fisheries related to policy, data and technology, human resources and capacity building, and conflict management. The number one strategic priority identified during the workshop was the need to include small-scale fisheries in traceability efforts and policies. Participants proposed ways to encourage small-scale fishers’ involvement through capacity building activities and by developing tools and incentives for their participation traceability systems.
Mrs. Wanwipa Suwannarak, Thailand DOF’s Director of Fish Inspection and Quality Control Division, attended the workshop and recognized the importance of involving practitioners in identifying solutions and advocating for regulatory changes.
“There are many participants in this room, and they all come different agencies, but they are all from the practitioner level…When we move suggestions up to the regulatory level, it will be important for them to see that these inputs are from the practitioners.” – Mrs. Suwannarak, Thailand DOF
The workshop included a presentation from USAID Oceans technology partner, Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise (FAME), on their monitoring technology for small-scale fishers and how it has benefited fisheries in the Philippines. During the presentation, FAME Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Arcelio Fetizanan Jr., announced the official launch of FAME’s partnership with the Thailand-based technology organization, Trinity Roots, to bring this small-scale technology to Thailand—a key step to advancing small-scale fishers’ involvement in national traceability efforts.
Workshop co-facilitator and Resonance Global Director for Asia, Mr. Lawrence Ang, acknowledged the advancements that resulted from FAME’s innovative technology. “Prior to FAME, there was no way to buy products from small-scale fishers that were traceable,” he said.
USAID Oceans will analyze findings from the workshop and use outputs to identify priority next steps to support the Thailand DOF to develop and implement an efficient eCDT system that is inclusive of small-scale fishers.
“USAID Oceans believes mining ideas from supply chain traceability practitioners within Department of Fisheries will allow the DOF to design more effective catch documentation and traceability that reflects current dynamics and opportunities. Workshop participants consolidated their thoughts on each solution based on urgency, impact, and complexity. This will provide DOF with strong prioritization.” – Farid Maruf, USAID Oceans CDT Specialist