DMCR chief calls on Phuket residents, tourists to protect marine sanctuaries

PHUKET: An illegal fishing net found in a popular dive spot last week prompted officials to call on Phuket residents and tourists to help preserve ocean conservation areas by keeping an eye out for illegal fishing activities.

“Last week a group of divers saved a lot of reef fish trapped in an enormous fishing net at Shark Point and provided photo evidence (story here). If anyone observes illegal fishing activity in restricted areas, please let us know immediately,” Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Region 5 Chief Tanet Munnoy urged.

Mr Tanet asked that anyone with photo evidence send it to his office.

“Pictures of the fishing in action and the boat names are extremely helpful,” he said.

“It is very difficult for us to catch illegal fishermen, as we have no way to keep from being seen as we approach them. We have to catch them in the act in order to make an arrest.”

Mr Tanet mentioned that people should not be afraid to document illegal fishing or to remove illegal nets that could harm marine wildlife.

“If you see a net underwater in a marine protected area, do not be afraid to remove it. If you cannot remove it, please let us know where it is and we will take care of it,” said Mr Tanet.

“Do not worry about anyone complaining about damage to their nets. You can leave the nets at our office – I will support you if there are any complaints filed.”

“I am available 24-7, so call me on my mobile if you encounter problems with fishermen fishing in restricted areas. My number is 081 636-8099.”

— Chutharat Plerin

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