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Fisheries Office extends po trap amnesty

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Fisheries Office extends po trap amnesty | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office (PPFO) has given fishermen until August 28 to apply to continue using po traps, shallow-water fish traps made by stringing a net between stakes stuck in the seabed, although the traps have been outlawed since 1996.

The announcement follows the passing of the July 29 deadline set by the PPFO for all total ban on po traps unless villagers’ claims that their traps do not harm sea turtles, dugongs, seagrass areas or coral can be substantiated.

PPFO chief Pairho Suthakorn announced that all po traps would be removed by authorities unless a written complaint was sent to the Fisheries Office.

Fears that the traps affect the habitats of sea turtles and dugong prompted the initiative to remove them from Phuket’s waters, especially after a dugong was found dead in a po trap in Pa Khlok Bay in April (click here for full story).

However, following claims by villagers at Baan Para Moo 4, Pa Khlok, that their traps caused no harm, the PPFO set 33 specific zones spanning 1,530 rai in the area where the villagers are allowed to use po traps.

The proposed zones were approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

Villagers from Baan Para Moo 4 claimed that they had been using the traps to make a living for about 30 years, and that their traps had not been causing harm to the natural surroundings, including grazing dugong.

K. Pairho said, “We are flexible. If there is an area where villagers have problems with the new rules then we can look into adapting the regulations.

“There have been many new po traps recently, especially in Rassada, which is why we need to implement zoning, although we want to be fair,” he added.

K. Pairho said that there were 50 other areas in Phuket where the PPFO was aware of po traps being used.

 

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