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Local fishermen dish out ‘fishy’ details

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Anchovies may be small fry, but they are big business for some fishermen operating out of Phuket’s main fishing port.

Known locally as ‘pla ching chang’, anchovies have been a steady source of income for the last 40 years for fishing boat owner Kumnueng Dumead. However, business is not always plain sailing, especially during the rainy season.

“During the monsoon season it is very tough for us to get out and fish. Nonetheless, I still have to take care of my crew and their families, which includes feeding them and housing them,” said Mr Kumnueng.

Mr Kumnueng’s boat nets anywhere between 80,000 to 800,000 baht worth of fish every month, causing massive swings on his profit and loss statements, while his operating costs run at an average of 500,000 baht a month.

“Though this is an unpredictable business – we never know what fortunes or lack thereof we will pull from the sea – this is what we were born to do. I can’t imagine doing any other kind of work.”

Despite the cost of living outpacing the increase in value for anchovies, which went for about 3.5 baht per kilogram 40 years ago and now fetch about 20 baht per kilo, Mr Kumnueng has no complaints.
“We’ve never had the market bottom out on us, and that’s what matters,” he said.

Further up the food chain are the buyers at the dock, such as Pairuch Pengjan, who is a member of the ‘Anchovy Development Community’ based in Rassada.

The Anchovy Development Community was created after the 2004 tsunami as a way to build a stronger community and help generate the necessary income, explained Ms Pairuch.

“There are about 50 groups in Phuket that process anchovies. Just within our group there are 32 families,” said Ms Pairuch.

The buyers take the fresh fish from the boats, dry them and then re-sell them for about 80 baht per kilo.
The fish are washed and then dried for about eight hours in the sun, before they are ready to be sold.
“Our fish are sold throughout Thailand and even in Malaysia and China,” Ms Pairuch said.

Well known Prontip Phuket, a souvenir shop on the island, is one of the many distributors of the dried anchovies.

“At our shop we sell many different kinds of anchovy products, costing between 50 baht and 100 baht per package,” said sales manager Natthaya Kraikoljanad. “Our best sellers are the plain ones, the ones with herbs added in to flavor them and those mixed with sesame.”

The majority of end-buyers of the product are Thais, Chinese and Indonesians on group tours, said Ms Natthaya.

Additional reporting by Chutharat Plerin

— Boonyawat Saelim

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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