Andaman waters closed to fishing

Andaman waters closed to fishing

The Department of Fisheries will prohibit fishing in the Andaman Sea off Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi and Trang from April to June in order to allow marine animal populations to recover.

Meesak Pakdeekong, the department's deputy director-general, said that the department will close 5,000 square kilometers of the Andaman Sea in Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi and Trang from April 1 to June 30, which coincides with the marine breeding season.

The closure will affect waters from Panwa Cape, Phuket's Mueang district all the way to Yong Star Cape in Trang's Palian district.

The move is in line with the directives of Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Chalermchai Sri-on, who has pledged to reserve marine resources in order to ensure fishermen's livelihoods, he said.

Mr Meesak said the seasonal moratorium on fishing has been enforced for several years in order to ensure the sustainability of fishing stocks.

A survey carried out last year showed that in areas where fishing is prohibited in April, about 690 marine animal hatchlings could be found in every 10 square metres of surveyed seabed in May, he said.

Consequently, Mr Meesak added, catches have also improved since the seasonal moratorium was imposed. In 2017, 207,236 tonnes of marine resources were caught, but the amount grew to 290,035 tonnes last year.

Average catch sizes have also improved, with traditional fishermen reporting bigger shrimps and crabs in designated areas, and this was a pleasing development for conservation policy, the deputy director-general said.

In a separate development, 38 leatherback turtle hatched in Khao Lampi–Hat Thai Mueang National Park in Phangnga on Tuesday.

Prarop Plang-ngan, the chief of operations for Phuket's marine national parks, and Haritchai Rittichuai, head of Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang National Park inspected the nest on Monday night.

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