What is it about?

In 2015, investigative reports revealed that forced migrant labour, systemic rights violations and illegal fishing were key factors in ensuring the cost-effectiveness of Thai seafood and, relatedly, the Thai fishing sector’s leadership in global supply chains. While much international attention so far has focused on Thailand’s policy advancements and legal reform in the seafood sector, the inevitable gaps between law on the books and situated social practice on the ground remain largely unscrutinised. This article addresses these gaps by exploring how behind-the-scenes negotiations between migrant rights NGOs, fishing companies and state officials in Samut Sakhon are invisibly reorganising visible spaces of migrant workforce beyond official law.

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Why is it important?

In 2018, the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) praised Thailand over its recent progress to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It is however necessary to look deeper beneath the surface of the Thai fishing industry’s official policies and humanitarian concerns. Its invisible, situated workings remain indeed largely unscrutinised beyond formal checks and highly predictable international inspections. This paper offer new insights into this grey area.

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This page is a summary of: ‘Invisible Worldings’, European Journal of East Asian Studies, July 2021, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15700615-20211020.
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