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Fishing restrictions applied off Phuket’s shores from April 1

Commercial fishing boat Thailand
PHOTO: Commercial fishing boat Thailand

Starting from April 1 until June 30, annual fishing restrictions kick in along the Andaman coast in Thailand, specifically including the offshore of Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and, further south, Trang. The objective of the ban is to allow fish stocks to recover during the spawning season, which peaks in June each year with an average density of 1,197 fish spawn per 1,000 cubic metres of water.

The fishing ban area covers 4,696 square kilometres, from Cape Panwa in Phuket province to Laem Yong Star in Trang province. While the sea is not entirely closed to fishing activity, only villagers with boats less than 10 gross tonnage in size and engines less than 280 horsepower are allowed to catch fish during this period. So the ban is aimed at the commercial fishing industry whilst not affecting the local fishermen who have been fishing these waters for centuries.

The Department of Fisheries is emphasising that the annual fishing restrictions have contributed to a nett increase in the annual catch in the Andaman Sea since 2017. To ensure compliance with the fishing ban, the department will send boats to patrol the area during the three month break. Any boat found violating the restrictions will be fined 50,000 baht or five times the value of caught fish, whichever is higher.

Apart from the fines, the department warns that fishing operators caught employing illegal laborers may face a fine of up to 2 million baht or 2 years imprisonment, or both.

Fishing practices in Thailand date back centuries, with the Thai people relying on fish as a primary source of food and income.

Today, commercial fishing is a significant contributor to the Thai economy, with the country being one of the world’s largest seafood exporters. However, overfishing, illegal fishing and destructive fishing practices have resulted in a decline in fish stocks and marine biodiversity. To address this issue, the Thai government has implemented various measures, including fishing restrictions and regulations, to promote sustainable fishing practices and protect marine resources.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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