Probe promised on illegal fishing
KRABI: A senior official of the Koh Lanta National Park has promised swift action over photographic evidence of fishing at the protected Hin Daeng reef 10 days ago. Hin Daeng was recently also the target of dynamite fishing, with considerable destruction of its famed coral and marine life. The photographs, copies of which were passed to the Gazette, were originally sent to The Nation newspaper by a diver. Sanchai Boonmuang, deputy chief of Koh Lanta National Park, promised an investigation and action against the offending fishermen. Taken from a dive boat, the pictures clearly show the fishing boat casting its net right next to the Hin Daeng reef on February 17. In addition to promising an investigation of this episode, park officials have undertaken to make more regular checks and have stepped up their awareness campaign to ensure that fishermen understand which areas are out of bounds. Despite investigations, the authorities – park and fisheries officials along with marine police and local council officers from Koh Lanta – have been unable to catch the dynamiting culprits. When asked about progress in that investigation, K. Sanchai told the Gazette, “We are still working on it.” He added, “We do not go out every day. However the national park has a team of eight officers who go to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang about once a week. “And there is another team of 10 people, including officers from the Krabi Provincial Fishery Office, the Marine Police and Koh Lanta District. “We check the weather and go out on days that are suitable for the fishing boats to go out. So far, we haven’t found any fishing boats in the area.” K. Sanchai said that the last time the area was checked was on February 13, when some old fishing net buoys were found.
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