PHUKET TOWN: A committee that brings together 10 arms of the government to help preserve the marine resources of the Andaman Coast may finally get teeth, thanks to a decent budget. The Region 3 Coordinating Committee to Preserve the Nation’s Marine Resources (CCPNMR) was set up in 1997, but under-funding has meant that it has been able to achieve little. The Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet, Vice Admiral Sathirapan Keyanon, chairing today’s meeting of the committee at the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel, said, “This is the first meeting since we received the budget from this government to preserve the resources of the Andaman Sea. “The main reason we are meeting today is to decide how to coordinate on tackling problems such as drug smuggling, fishing boats trespassing into protected areas, and so on.” The government has made it clear that protecting the environment of Phang Nga Bay from illegal encroachment is a priority. Also high on the agenda is protecting tourists’ lives during the low season monsoons. The CCPNMR brings together officials from the Navy, the Foreign Ministry, the Marine Police, Customs, Immigration, the Harbormaster’s Department, the Fisheries Department, the Provincial Government, the TAT, and the National Parks Department in the six Andaman coast provinces – Ranong, Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun.
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