The Fisheries Act (1947, as amended in 1953 and 1985)
is the principal legislative instrument dealing with fisheries and the cultivation of aquatic animals. Although various efforts have been made over the last decade to draft and adopt new fisheries legislation, the Fisheries Act is currently still in force. The act is administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MAC). Its Department of Fisheries (DOF) is the principal government agency responsible for managing and developing fisheries and aquaculture. Its mandate and structure are set out in the Royal Decree on Administration (1994)
, which provides DOF, inter alia
, with the authority and responsibility to:
- Apply, implement and enforce the Fisheries Act and other relevant laws related to fishery matters.
- Study, research and develop aquatic resources, the aquatic environment, aquaculture, fish enhancement including genetic research, and fishing gear.
- Study, research and develop preservation and food processing of aquatic products, including analysis, inspection and certification of the quality of aquatic products.
- Survey, explore, analyze and research fishery grounds within and outside Thai waters.
- Promote and develop the possibilities for people to get involved in fishing, aquaculture and fishery products processing.
- Such other activities as are assigned to DOF.
The Fisheries Act is further implemented at the provincial and district level. The Royal Decree on Administration sets out the authority of both the Provincial Fishery Officer (each province has a Provincial Fishery Officer) and the District Fishery Officers. The District Office and the officers therein report to the Provincial Officer. The Tambol Administrative Organization Act (1994)
empowers local communities, at sub-district level, to manage and conserve natural resources and the environment in their localities. These powers enable local communities to regulate any activities in their areas including aquaculture activities. The Provincial Administrative Organization Act (1997)
empowers the Provincial Administrative Organization to formulate provincial development plans, coordinate and cooperate with Tambol Administrative Organizations, allocate budgets to Tambol Administrative Organizations, and protect and conserve natural resources and environment in their territories.
Generally informing the direction of the Department of Fisheries are the policy directives of National Economic and Social Development Plans. The 9th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2002-2006) affirms the need for sustainable development and encourages shrimp aquaculture practices to be in accordance with code of conduct standards. The overall strategy for the country's fisheries management is stipulated in the National Fisheries Development Policy. Among others, it aims at increasing aquaculture production by 5 percent annually. Strategies include the strengthening of aquaculture techniques and management, promoting cost-effective and environmentally-friendly aquaculture, upgrading production quality and hygiene, and expanding markets for aquaculture products.
There is no legal definition of aquaculture.
Code of Conduct (CoC)
|Guidelines and codes of conduct|
standards have been developed for the marine shrimp culture industry. The standards are a systematic approach to manage shrimp production to achieve international quality standards and to manage the environment for the whole production line, from farm to processing plant, to maintain a sustainable marine shrimp culture industry and to develop quality shrimp production techniques. The standards include guidelines for the operation of shrimp hatcheries and farms and for harvesting and transportation from farms to processing plants, distributors and exporters. The CoC standards provide for a certification process for all operators and address a variety of issues including the use of feed, veterinary drugs and other chemical products.
In addition, Good Aquaculture Practice (GAP) guidelines
have been developed for hygienic shrimp production. The farmer who cannot meet the CoC standards can apply for a GAP certificate. The GAP guidelines are fundamental guidelines with practical outlines for developing to CoC standards in the future. To produce good quality and safe marine shrimp for consumers, shrimp farms must be standardized, clean, sanitary and generate no environmental impacts. Furthermore, shrimp health management must avoid use of therapeutic agent and chemicals that lead to residues in shrimp. Therapeutic agents and chemical use must be recorded and avoided at least 21 days before harvesting. Farm inspection by DOF is divided into an inspection related to sanitation and an inspection related to chemical residues. If the GAP requirements are met, DOF issues a GAP certificate which is valid for a period of 1 year.
Thailand is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific (NACA). Thailand is a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), but not to the Biosafety Protocol. Thailand is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The Fisheries Act classifies fisheries into four categories, i.e. preservation fisheries, leasable fisheries, reserved fisheries and public fisheries. No person may fish or cultivate aquatic animals in the preservation fisheries unless permission has been obtained from the Director-General for Fisheries. Leaseable fisheries are fisheries in which an exclusive right to fish or to cultivate aquatic animals may be granted to a person by means of tendering. No person other than a licensee may fish for, or cultivate, aquatic animals in a leaseable fishery and the licensee must comply with any conditions imposed by the Director-General of DOF. Similarly, reserved fisheries are fisheries in which a person has been permitted to fish for, or cultivate, aquatic animals, and no person other the licensee may fish for aquatic animals other than the licensee. Again, the licensee must comply with any conditions imposed by the Director-General of DOF.
Waters not designated as preservation, leasable or reserved are public. Pursuant to section 16 of the Fisheries Act, every person has the right to fish and cultivate aquatic animals in public waters. However, any person fishing or cultivating aquatic animals in public waters must comply with ministerial "conditions". Such conditions have been set in the Regulation of the Department of Fisheries on the Application and Permission for Aquaculture in Public Fishing Grounds (1990)
. Permission for aquaculture in public fishing grounds shall be granted by the district or provincial authority only to aquaculture conducted in cages or pens and may not obstruct navigational routes of ships and rafts and create any hindrance to the public, among others. The person permitted to conduct aquaculture in public fishing grounds shall comply with the "conditions" of DOF, i.e.:
- The person so permitted shall conduct aquaculture within the area specified by the district or provincial authority.
- The person so permitted shall be prohibited to erect or construct any equipment in the fishing grounds without prior written permission of the Director-General of DOF.
- The person so permitted must provide permanent pole and erect demarcation posts to indicate the permitted area for aquaculture and show distinct marks therefore.
- No permanent platform or structure shall be allowed to be constructed to guard the aquaculture area.
- The person so permitted must facilitate and clarify to the authority who conducts inspection of the aquaculture.
- In case of necessity, the government has the right to revoke or refuse permission for aquaculture at any time and the person so permitted shall remove all structures and may not claim any damages or compensation from the authority or the government.
- A person applying for permission of aquaculture in public fishing grounds must have the Thai nationality.
In addition, any person wishing to apply for permission for pilot aquaculture in cages or pens in public fishing grounds shall file an application in the form prepared by DOF at the district or sub-district in which aquaculture is to be conducted together with the project or action plan for pilot aquaculture, a copy of household register or of identity card, and a map or chart indicating the location of the area.
The Fisheries Act prohibits the construction of cultivation ponds on public land unless permission has been obtained from the competent official (section 23). Where permission is obtained the licensee must comply with the conditions prescribed in the permit. Thereafter fishing in cultivation ponds requires no permission and is exempted from fishery tax under the act (section 24).
The Fisheries Act empowers MAC to make notifications requiring all persons engaged in fishing or trade in fishery products to be registered and apply for permission before undertaking the activity (section 25). Reportedly, a notification has been issued on coastal shrimp aquaculture. First imposed in 1991 and updated in 1998, shrimp farms and shrimp hatchery operators are to be registered yearly with DOF. For DOF to accept registration, the farmer or operator must comply with conditions regarding the layout of the proposed farm, seawater storage, an effluent treatment area or sedimentation pond covering not less than 10 percent of the pond area etc. Sludge or bottom mud sediment should be kept in a suitable area and should not be pumped out to a public area or canal. Registration is required for shrimp farms over 50 ra. (8 ha).
|Access to land and water|
Issues related to the use, planning and development of land are generally regulated in the Land Development Act (1983)
and the Land Code (2001)
. More specific, access to land and water for aquaculture is dealt with under the Fisheries Act. Also relevant to access to land and water is the Enhancement and Preservation of Natural Environmental Quality Act (1992)
, administered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), which provides for the establishment of environmentally protected areas and pollution control areas. In these areas, prescriptions can be made by ministerial regulation on the use of land in order to preserve the natural conditions of such area or to prevent its natural ecosystems from being adversely impacted. This includes the prohibition of activities that may be harmful or adversely affect or change the state of the ecosystems of such areas. Protected areas may also be established under the National Park Act (1961, as amended)
, the National Reserved Forest Act (1964)
and the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act (1992)
Under the Enhancement and Preservation of Natural Environmental Quality Act, MNRE may - with the approval of the National Environment Board (NEB) - specify by notification the type and size of projects or activities that require an EIA. Aquaculture, however, is currently not among the range of projects for which an EIA is required.
|Water and wastewater|
The principal requirements concerning water pollution are provided for under the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act
. For the purpose of environmental quality enhancement and conservation, the act provides for the prescription of, inter alia
, water quality standards for rivers, canals, swamps, marshes, lakes, reservoirs and other public inland water sources as well as for coastal and estuarine water areas. The act provides for a Pollution Control Committee, which has powers to prepare action plans for the prevention or remedy of pollution hazards or contamination. Similarly, the Pollution Control Committee may make recommendations, propose incentive measures and advise the Minister on the setting of emission or effluent standards and the performance of other functions relating to pollution control. The act empowers MNRE to prescribe emission or effluent standards for the control of wastewater discharges from point sources into the environment in order to meet the environmental quality standards set under the Act. Where this is done the owner or possessor of the point source has a duty to bring into operation an on-site facility for wastewater treatment as determined by the pollution control official and to monitor the control of wastewater. Where standards have been provided for in relation to wastewater under other legislation, and these are no less stringent than emission or effluent standards set under the act, they will continue to apply. In respect of designated pollution control areas, more stringent local standards may be imposed. Although effluent standards have been enacted for a range of industrial emissions, no corresponding effluent standards have been adopted yet for effluent from aquaculture.
In addition, the Fisheries Act prohibits any person to pour, throw away, drain or lay in a fishery a poisonous substance, as determined by ministerial notification, or do any act that stupefies aquatic animals, or pour or throw away, drain or lay in a fishery any substance in a manner that is dangerous to aquatic animals or causes pollution therein, except for experiments for scientific benefit which have been permitted by a competent official. Furthermore, the notification requiring the registration of shrimp farmers and shrimp hatchery operators imposes conditions on shrimp farmers to control the quality of waste effluent from shrimp farms. Another provision controlling wastewater discharge which may be relevant can be found in the Navigation in Thai Waters Act (1913, as amended)
. The act, which is executed by the Harbour Department under the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MTC), prohibits the discharge of chemical substances, petroleum substances, sludge, rock, mud, etc. into any watercourse, lake, reservoir or marine waters.
The Fisheries Act prohibits the import of live aquatic animals and the introduction of exotic species, as specified by DOF (sections 54 and 55). However, the act does not regulate the export of live aquatic animals. In addition, the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, which places aquatic animals under the jurisdiction of DOF, prohibits the trade, import and export of certain listed endangered species.
There is no information available on disease control within aquaculture facilities/sites.
The Drug Act (1967)
, administered by the Ministry of Public Health, and the Hazardous Substances Act (1992)
, administered by the Ministry of Industry, generally regulate the use of drugs, including veterinary drugs, and chemical substances by creating a list substances which are controlled and the quantities of these which may be used in particular applications. These acts are also applicable to the use of regulated substances in aquaculture.
The Animal Feed Control Act (1992)
administered by the Department of Livestock within MAC, regulates the content and quality of feed used for aquaculture. Within DOF, the Aquatic Animal Feed Research Institute is responsible for the study, analysis and research of aquatic animal feed.
The Food Act (1979)
is the major law aimed at protecting and preventing consumers from health hazards occurring from food consumption. The responsibility for food safety is shared between different agencies and ministries, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the Ministry of Public Health. With regard to fish and fishery products, the Fish Inspection and Quality Control Division within DOF is responsible for quality control, post-harvest handling and processing development. DOF operates a HACCP-based fish inspection and control program involving control from raw materials to end-products. The Fish Inspection and Quality Control Division issues certificates to approved processors whose facilities and products meet international safety and quality requirements. The Fisheries Act empowers MAC to make notifications requiring all persons engaged in fishing or trade in fishery products to be registered and apply for permission before undertaking the activity (section 25). There is a notification laying down the conditions and guidelines for the approval of fish processors.
|Aquaculture investment |
Investment in Thailand is generally regulated by the Investment Promotion Act (2002)
and the main government agency dealing with investment is the Board Of Investment (BOI). Special incentives exist for a wide range of priority activities, including aquatic animal husbandry (except shrimp), the manufacture of animal feed and the manufacture or preservation of food made from animals. More information on investment in Thailand can be obtained at: http://www.boi.go.th/english/
Animal Feed Control Act (1992). (Copy not available)
Drug Act (1967). (Copy not available)
Royal Decree on Administration (1994). (Copy not available)
National Reserved Forest Act (1964). (Copy not available)
Navigation in Thai Waters Act (1913, as amended). (Copy not available)
Provincial Administrative Organization Act (1997). (Copy not available)
Tambol Administrative Organization Act (1994). (Copy not available)
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