Three provinces enter no fishing season
The Fisheries Department has announced a three-month closure of the southwestern part of the Gulf of Thailand to large fishing operations to allow time for fish to breed and nurture their young.
From Tuesday to May 15, the sea in the lower section of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon and Surat Thani will be closed to large-scale commercial fishing as part of the department's marine resource management.
Chalermchai Suwanrak, deputy chief of the department, said the seasonal closure is part of its policy to rehabilitate and restore marine species' stocks and ensure sustainable fishery practices.
The fishing ban applies to large-scale commercial fishing while artisanal fishermen using light and non-destructive fishing gear are not affected by the ban, he said.
Mr Chalermchai said the measure has proved to be effective in boosting the populations of mackerel and other small commercial fish in the Gulf of Thailand.
The closure takes place three times a year. The first period from June 15 to Aug 15 applies in the northwestern part of the Gulf from Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district to Samut Sakhon's Muang.
The second period from Aug 1 to Sept 30 affects the northeastern part of the Gulf from Muang to Si Racha district in Chon Buri.
The ceremony to announce the seasonal closure was yesterday presided over by Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district.
Eight patrol boats and local fishermen also joined the ceremony while tens of thousands of fish and prawn stocks were released into the sea as part of a marine stock enhancement initiative.
The minister presented sustainable fishing awards to eight artisanal fishermen and stocks of giant freshwater prawns to local community leaders for distribution.
A "Fishermen's Market" will open in all 23 coastal provinces and the products will range from fresh seafood to processed and cooked food, the department said.