Boats crowd ports as fishing limits take effect

Boats crowd ports as fishing limits take effect

Fishing boats remain moored at Pranburi bay in Prachuap Khiri Khan as the ban on fishing on designated days each month comes into force. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyeam).
Fishing boats remain moored at Pranburi bay in Prachuap Khiri Khan as the ban on fishing on designated days each month comes into force. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyeam).

Fishing boats are cramming into ports in all coastal provinces to comply with an order by the government's Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing that they halt operations in Thai waters on designated days each month to tackle the problem of overfishing.

The resolution issued by the command centre states fishing boats using surrounding nets are not to fish for nine days each month -- 1st-3rd, 11th-13th and 21st-23rd; those using trawl nets must suspend operations for five days each month -- 1st-3rd and 11th-12th.

The resolution will remain in force for three month, starting Sept 1.

Captains of fishing boats have rushed to comply with the order, fearing legal action if they do not, with boats being beached, anchored and tied up in ports in all coastal provinces, resulting in major overcrowding.

In many ports there is no room for all the boats to moor, with some vessels having to remain about  one kilometre off the shore.

Boats that rushed to comply were all forced to sell their catch in haste, causing a problem of oversupply and a subsequent drop in fish prices.

In Surat Thani province, Prasartsuk Thaiprayoon and other fishing boat operators grouped together and asked that the government review the no-fishing order. They said there would be many problems if all boats suspended fishing activities at the same time.

In Prachuap Khiri Khan, a meeting was held on Tuesday morning between representatives of fishing boat operators and governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul and the head of the provincial fishery office.

Atichart Chaisri, chairman of the Pranburi Fishing Association, said it was proposed at the meeting that the periods for the boats to refrain from fishing should be rescheduled. It was not feasible for all boats to do that at the same time.

Boats should be allowed to go out to the sea and suspend fishing at different periods.

Apart from the problem of ports being overcrowded with boats, fishing crews with no work to do would kill time drinking, gambling and quarrelling with one another. This could even lead to violence and crime, Mr Atichart said.

He said the governor promised to forward the proposal to the Interior Ministry.



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