USAID Oceans and Partners Bring Traceability Solutions to Thailand’s Fisheries
On May 14-16, 2019, USAID Oceans and its partner, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), held a workshop with the Department of Fisheries (DOF) of Thailand to assess further opportunities to advance the country’s traceability systems, exchange lessons learned on the development and implementation of electronic catch documentation (eCDT) systems, and gather Thailand’s feedback on technical guidance that the program is developing for continued eCDT implementation and expansion across Southeast Asia. The workshop, which convened more than 20 government officials and traceability experts, enabled USAID Oceans to share knowledge gained from its program learning sites in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as expand its tested traceability solutions across the region and beyond its learning sites.
Ms. Cristina Vélez Srinivasan, Ecosystems Management and Trade Team Lead for the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, provided opening remarks recognizing Thailand’s progress in combating IUU fishing. Photo: USAID Oceans/ K.Nitiwarangkul
To frame the discussions, the workshop began with a review of Thailand’s eCDT Gap Analysis Report, developed by USAID Oceans with the Department of Fisheries. To reflect the significant progress that Thailand has made in reforming its approaches to combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices and human welfare concerns, the group reflected on national achievements to update present eCDT opportunities and challenges. As noted by Ms. Vélez Srinivasan in her opening remarks, “In addition to the ongoing work of the country in recent years to enhance the sustainability of its fisheries, 2018 was particularly significant as Thailand became the first country in Asia to ratify the International Labor Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention, as well as shed its EU Yellow Card. As the country has made these advances, we also recognize and applaud Thailand’s voiced interest in sharing its experiences, including through its ASEAN Chairmanship, with other countries experiencing these issues.”
As part of the review process, participants reflected and provided inputs on Thailand’s substantive progress over the last few years, including advancements of its eCDT system with strengthened data capture capacity and enhanced connectivity across the supply chain. The group also discussed further needs and driving factors that would help to establish interconnected and robust end-to-end seafood traceability to achieve transparent and sustainable fisheries management in Thailand. Inputs recognized Thailand’s success in addressing human welfare issues and initiated discussions on the roles of eCDT to support and further reinforce current mandates.
At the workshop, Thai government officials and traceability experts assessed and evaluated Thailand’s eCDT system and opportunities for advancement. Photo: USAID Oceans/K. Nitiwarangkul
On the second day, USAID Oceans’ technology partners from Sisfo, Altermyth, Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME) and Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), as well as the program’s industry First Movers who are eCDT users at the learning sites, including Nutrindo and Rell and Renn, joined the group to exchange their knowledge of traceability technology solutions. The eCDT technologies presented by participating developers, and the First Movers piloting them, were met with great interest from the DOF Thailand representatives, particularly the technologies for at-sea data capture and reporting–an area where Thailand is looking to further enhance its traceability efforts. The DOF expressed interest in further engaging with the technology partners to discuss opportunities for local application and testing.
USAID Oceans’ technology partners presented their traceability solutions to the DOF. Photo: USAID Oceans/ K. Nitiwarangkul
On the final day, USAID Oceans worked with SEAFDEC and the DOF to review and incorporate feedback on the Regional eCDT Technical Guidance that the program is soliciting feedback from ASEAN counterpart countries over the coming months. With Thailand’s extensive experience in eCDT development and implementation, participants shared inputs to support national and regional interests in promoting fisheries traceability and sustainability.
Following on from this workshop, USAID Oceans, the Thai DOF, and SEAFDEC will continue to work together to advance an eCDT system that promotes sustainability, protects marine resources and incorporates improved human welfare measures. USAID Oceans is conducting similar eCDT workshops with SEAFDEC and CTI-CFF member country partners in the coming months to showcase eCDT technology, share experiences and support its partners in advancing their national traceability goals.
Participants of USAID Oceans’ Thailand eCDT Workshop included government representatives, members of the private sector, and SEAFDEC program partners. The Workshop represented a significant opportunity for USAID Oceans to share its learning sites results with regional partners in Thailand’s fisheries. Photo: USAID Oceans/K. Nitiwarangkul