Annual fishing ban to protect tuna stocks

PHUKET: In a bid to protect declining tuna stocks in Phang Nga Bay, the Department of Fisheries has threatened to fine and confiscate the fishing equipment of any boatmen found bottom trawling or fishing in protected areas with nets smaller than allowed by regulations.

From April 15 to June 15, all “otter trawlers” (those that trawl the sea floor) and trawlers using nets with meshing smaller than 4.7 centimeters across are banned from fishing in the area from Laem Sak at Ao Leuk, Krabi to the north end of Koh Yao Noi to the southern tip of Koh Yao Yai and back to Laem Sak.

The ban also applies to the area from the southern end of Koh Yao Yai to halfway to Koh Bidoh Nok to the southern end of Koh Lanta Yai to offshore from Klongthom District in Krabi.

The total protected area covers some 2,067 square kilometers.

Fishermen found guilty of breaking the ban face confiscation of all fishing equipment on board as well as a fine of up to 10,000 baht or up to one year in prison, or both.

The ban, announced by press release at the Governor Meets [the] Press monthly press conference yesterday, coincides with the twice-yearly spawning period of many Andaman fish species, especially tuna, the press release said.

The Fisheries Department said that research has found that tuna spawn in protected areas from December through March and from June through August each year.

The 62-day ban has been enforced each year since 1985, the release said.

Phuket News
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