The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is planning to introduce new artificial reefs to prevent trawlers from encroaching on coastal areas reserved for small-scale local fishermen.
Department adviser Sakanand Plathong said a group of fishermen and academics have been working together on the design of the man-made reefs.
Once completed, these reefs will serve as barriers to prevent fishing trawlers from illegally operating in the restricted coastal zones.
"The department has accepted an initial proposal on the project," Mr Sakanand said.
"We are working on the details of the artificial reefs, which will be different in each locality.
"Nai Yang beach in Phuket will be the site of the pilot project for this year."
Two lines of the artificial reefs will be laid about 3km from the shore.
Under the law, fishing trawlers are prohibited from operating closer than 3km from the shore, which is an area reserved as a breeding ground for marine life and for small-scale local fishermen to make their living.
Mr Sakanand said officials have laid artificial reefs at more than 1,000 sites nationwide and have found they help increase the marine life population.
The artificial reefs will also benefit small-scale fishermen who are unable to fish in deeper waters, he said.
A study by the department and Prince of Songkla University in 2011 showed the illegal activities of fishing trawlers in restricted zones in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Pattani provinces adversely affect small-scale local fishermen.
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- Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin