Thai authorities have registered more than 70,000 undocumented foreign workers in the fishing industry, from an estimated overall of 200,000.

This measure is part of government efforts to avoid the serious consequences of an European ban on Thailand’s exports of fish products.

Of registered migrant workers, some 50,000 work in fish processing plants, and the rest in fishing boats.

Those who have already registered will be allowed to continue working for at least two years, officials said.

Moreover, the government has revoked the registrations of about 8,000 fishing vessels in the past year.

“It’s a national agenda, and the prime minister has stressed that he has zero tolerance on this issue,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sek Wannamethee referring to the Government’s battle against illegal practices in the sector.

Last April, Thailand was issued a “yellow card” by the EU, threatening the country to ban all seafood exports unless the government tackled increasing illegal fishing and labour abuses.

EU officials visited Thailand last month for an inspection to decide to decide whether to apply an embargo on exports, a measure that could cost Thailand up to THB 36 billion (USD 1.01 billion) in lost revenue.

Thailand is the third largest exporter of seafood, position acquired, according to several human rights groups, through illegal fishing and dependence on low-wage workers trafficked from neighbouring countries, AFP reported.

The country’s authorities hope that Thailand will be able to avoid the sanctions. 12 Feb 2016