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Fishing ban gives fishermen the chance to repair boats

Fishing Ban to Replenish Phang Nga Bay Stocks

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
PHANG NGA BAY has closed for fishing for two months from April 15 to allow fish stocks to recover.

The ban will apply from Laem Sak in Krabi to Yao Noi and Yao Yai Islands and apply to an area of 2067 square kilometres.

The chief of the Phuket Department of Fisheries, Pilow Sutakorn, said the pressure of having 10,000 boats fishing the area was too great all year round.

''The closure will allow fish eggs to be laid so that spawning and nursing can take place and stocks can recover before fishing resumes on June 15,'' he told Phuketwan.

The Phang Nga Bay region is the source of between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of tuna each year, he said.

During the two-month break, fishermen should be able to carry out repairs on their boats, Khun Pilow added.

The temporary ban on fishing would ensure that the industry continued to be profitable for many years to come, he said.

For this reason, it was also important for fishermen to use nets that did not trap smaller fish.

He made the point that fishermen who were caught fishing during the two month recovery period could face 12 months in jail, a fine of up to 100,000 baht, and lose their licence to fish.

Last year, 223 fishermen were apprehended breaking the ban. In 2006, the number was 463.

Khun Pilow believes that this reduction is a sign that more people are now becoming aware of the benefits of the two-month break from fishing.

An education program to inform fishing communities about the need for recovery times is continuing.

Khun Pilow said more fishermen were now in agreement that the ban was a good thing because large catches of fish usually greeted the resumption of business in June.

The Phang Nga and Krabi area was good for fish to breed in, he said, and the environment sustained the fishing industry well.

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