Fishing restrictions to return to Thai Gulf
Fishing will be banned in part of the Gulf of Thailand for over three months, or from June to September, to allow marine species to recover their numbers, breed and nurture their young.
Fishing will be strictly regulated in parts of the area known as the "ko shaped gulf", the upper part of the gulf which resembles the symbol "ko", the first letter of the Thai alphabet.
This section is skirted by eight coastal provinces -- Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri.
The restrictions will take effect from Jun 15 to Aug 15 off the coasts of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon, while the coasts of Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri will be closed from Aug 1 to Sept 30.
The Department of Fisheries has decided to enforce rules limiting fishing off these provinces again after similar measures last year resulted in an increase in marine species stocks.
"The measure has been proven to help rehabilitate and restore many aquatic resources," department chief Adison Sanguansin said.
Looking at their numbers, Mr Adison said catches increased after the closure period ended last year.
From April to May last year, fishermen's hauls weighed 2,471 kilogrammes a day on average.
That amount went up to 2,863kg between October and November when bans were lifted.
The numbers of pelagic fish like shortnose gizzard shads and those in the Clupeidae, or ray-finned fish, family were noted to have rebounded.
However, Mr Adison said, there was only one exception.
"Our economic mainstay of pla thu have not been fully restored as expected," he said.
Studies show that pla thu, or mackerel, often migrate to the ko shaped gulf, "so we need to prevent them from being caught prematurely", Mr Adison stressed.