EU threatens Thailand with seafood import ban over failure to crack down on illegal fishing

The European Union has given Thailand six months to drastically increase its crackdown on illegal and unregulated fishing or face an EU seafood import ban, but has lifted the threat of similar action from South Korea and the Philippines.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said Tuesday that Thailand was given a "yellow card" to improve its fisheries practices because, despite warnings, the Thai authorities have "no controls whatsoever."

Thailand is a major exporter of seafood, with yearly revenues of almost 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion), and an EU ban would seriously affect the industry. Annual exports to the EU are estimated to be worth between 575 million and 730 million euros.

South Korea and the Philippines had faced a similar threat but Vella lifted it to reward them for cooperating.