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Southern fishermen sail to Bangkok to urge protection of juvenile aquatic animals

SOUTHERN fishermen from Pattani and other provinces reached Bangkok today (June 6) after sailing a long distance to mount their “Fried mackerel and shrimp paste sauce” campaign aimed at stopping the catching and selling of juvenile aquatic animals, Sanook.com said.

They have prepared a petition to submit to relevant agencies to formulate policies and announce measures to control the catching and trading of these young marine animals to solve the Thai seafood crisis that is now becoming more severe on Wednesday June 8, the World Oceans Day.

They intend to go to the Parliament to submit their petition to expedite the enforcement of the Fisheries Act, BE 2558 (2015) and specify the size of young aquatic animals to halt the disruption of marine life cycle and set a fair fishing quota.

Mr. Piya Theyam, president of the Federation of Fishermen of Thailand, said the Thai fishing industry is now affecting the ecosystem of coastal communities and causing enormous losses.

The aim of this campaign is to urge the government to formulate policies and announce measures to encourage sellers, consumers and fishermen to realise that there is now a juvenile aquatic animal crisis.

Even as the world now faces a food crisis people throughout Thailand too have to pay more for quality food even though the country has a huge amount of marine life but it has now become food that is too expensive for low- to middle-income people to consume, he said.

In allowing seafood to be sold by weight, with as much as 300 million kilogrammes being sold at a low price, it is the fishery and feed industry capital groups who are actually benefiting, he added.

Piya urged that the authorities set a fair catch quota because the current ratio of commercial fleets permitted 82% and local fishermen nationwide 18% had led to the latter facing poverty.

“This ratio allows small-scale fishermen to catch only 18% of fish, although the number of days is not set, but they don’t have a chance because the 50,814 traditional fishing boats are waiting to catch adult fish. Even though they fish every day of the year they still don’t stand a chance because both juvenile and adult fish are taken through fishing with bigger gear,” he said.

Meanwhile Mr. Wichokesak Ronnagpiri, president of the Thai Marine Conservation Association, has launched the “Before mackerel runs out, expedite the enforcement of the law” campaign through change.org to urge Thais to stop catching and eating juvenile aquatic animals.

He urged the government to speed up the enforcement of Fisheries Act, BE, 2558 (2015) with Section 37 saying, “It is prohibited for anyone to catch and bring aboard fishing boats aquatic animals smaller than the size announced by the ministry.”

He pointed out that the authorities should set the size determining juvenile marine animals immediately to put an end to cutting their lifecycle and set a fair quota.

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Southern fishermen sailing to Bangkok to mount their campaign on protecting juvenile marine animals. Photos: Sanook.com


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