80 illegal fish traps seized in Surat Thani

80 illegal fish traps seized in Surat Thani

Collapsible traps deemed destructive fishing gear that can cause environmental harm

Officials examine an illegal fish trap seized from Bandon Bay in Surat Thani on Saturday. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Officials examine an illegal fish trap seized from Bandon Bay in Surat Thani on Saturday. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)

SURAT THANI: Authorities have seized 80 illegal fish traps in Bandon Bay in this southern province. Nobody showed up to claim ownership of what officials have classified as destructive fishing gear.

An illegal fishing suppression task force on board a patrol vessel found the 80 two-sided collapsible traps, each about 5 metres long, in the waters off tambon Kadae in Kanchanadit district. They were responding to complaints by local fishermen that the use of destructive fishing gear was rampant in the bay.

Kiartisak Kasemphankul, head of the Surat Thani fisheries office, said the trap known as lob phab, also called ai ngo by local residents, was a small-scale device but it was destructive to the environment as it could catch fish of all sizes.

During the seizure of the gear, nobody showed up to claim ownership, said Mr Kiartisak.

If arrested, offenders are liable to a maximum fine of one million baht each.

Authorities plan to continue their crackdown on illegal fishing and the use of destructive fishing gear in the coastal province, he added.

Bandon Bay is also the site of a nasty “cockle war” that has been making headlines in recent weeks. It pits local cockle pickers against large cockle-farming operations that are completely illegal but have proved difficult to dislodge because they are linked to influential figures in the province.

Some cockle farmers have invested millions of baht setting up breeding facilities off the coast, erecting bamboo fences around the areas they illegally claim, with guard towers built on stilts.

Officials examine fish trapped in a collapsible net during a patrol in Bandon Bay in Surat Thani on Saturday. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)


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