Local Thai vessels are smaller and sea trips shorter because they have to return to unload their catches. Thai Law has mandated the use of VMS (Vessel Monitoring System) to be installed on vessels over 30 tons gross weight and they are tracked by the Thai Fishery Department with satellites all through their fishing voyages. Upon leaving and entering ports, Thai Government Agencies are there to check MCPDs (Marine Catch Purchasing Documents), Port in and Port out for crew, making sure the same crew who went out and came back, and Seamen Log Books to prove their legal status. Thus, we can totally trace back our purchases and crew status from these vessels.
Since mid-2017, Kingfisher has been working with Ocean Mind, a UK based, not-for-profit organization that provides unbiased, independent monitoring, verification and validation of fishing vessel behaviour at sea. The purpose was to confirm the validity of all its seafood sources from local Thai-Flagged fishing vessels to eradicate any product linked to illegal fishing activity entering its supply chain, or those of its customers.
Starting from the beginning of the supply chain, Kingfisher has initiated a programme of independent monitoring and verification of fishing vessel activities at sea from which Kingfisher buys from. To manage this effectively, with the permission of vessel owners and in partnership with government, Kingfisher has been working with Ocean Mind and fisheries compliance experts to review and assess fishing vessel tracking data. This monitoring activity provides assurance that each fishing vessel stayed within its licenced boundaries prior to and after its fishing activity.
Taking the depth of compliance further, Kingfisher looks for evidence of possible fishing within closed areas, possible transshipment, unauthorized fishing in non-Thai waters and fishing beyond Thailand’s maximum day fishing effort limit. Kingfisher is getting information, advice and guidance to both vessel owners and operators. By educating fishers about the impact of IUU fishing and the economic consequences to their business of fishing outside the rules, they are moving towards fishing within the spirit of the law, not just the letter of the law.
This move towards more stringent checks of seafood provenance was initiated from the ongoing alliance between the Seafood Task Force, of which Kingfisher and Ocean Mind are members of. Working with the Royal Thai Government’s Department of Fisheries, we build a “culture of compliance” through the cooperation between the private sector and government on fisheries management and compliance. Hence, Kingfisher can assure its customers of IUU free seafood, regardless of product type.
By extending seafood supply chain monitoring beyond the port delivery and on the seas, Kingfisher, in partnership with Ocean Mind, increases the certainly about where and when seafood was caught, adds insight into the fishing method, vessel and operators involved, demonstrates that seafood was caught in compliance with relevant regulations, and helps prove the provenance of seafood sources for retailers and their suppliers throughout the supply chain.