Greenpeace Releases ‘Turn the Tide’: A New Report about Human Rights Abuses in Thailand’s Distant Water Fishing Fleet

Created on Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Photo credit: Cheryl-Samantha Owen

In December 2016, Greenpeace released a new report, “Turn the Tide,” on a 12-month investigation regarding the activities of Thailand’s distant water fishing fleet. This report follows up on previous reports that first revealed egregious human rights abuses aboard Thai fishing vessels, and instigated improvements in fisheries management in Thailand. The investigation found that Thai fishing vessel operators continue to carry out the same human rights abuses previously reported by moving to distant waters where management is weaker.

The report focuses primarily on activities of the Thai fishing fleet in the Saya de Malha Bank in the Indian Ocean and includes extensive interviews with fishermen, fishing operator representatives, and captains. These interviews paint a detailed picture of the human rights violations occurring against fishermen, ranging from debt bondage, human trafficking, forced labor, and malnutrition. The crucial role of transshipment in supporting the conditions that lead to these labor abuses is highlighted in this report.

The report is groundbreaking in two ways:

  • It links Thai vessels supplying the global tuna supply chain to human rights abuses.
  • It highlights the family owned fishing companies that operate the vessels carrying out human rights abuses, including names, structure, and their influence in Thailand’s seafood industry.


While emphasizing that more needs to be done, the investigation acknowledges the positive steps taken by governments (including Thailand) and the seafood industry, and provides a series of recommendations to remedy the situation.

To assist companies in understanding and integrating the findings of this report, FishWise has drafted a briefing on this issue that you can review here.

For more information on this brief and report, please contact