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Fine gill nets are capable of killing the Phuket region's reefs

Phuket Tuna Hub Fleet Pier Planned

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
PHUKET: Thai authorities are contemplating turning Phuket into a tuna fishing hub despite concerns that the region's tourism and diving could be further degraded.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom will check out a proposed site for a tuna fishing fleet pier at Koh Sireh, east of Phuket City, tomorrow.

In preliminary talks with Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosutthirak at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City today, Pramuan Rugjai, Deputy Director of the Bangkok-based Fish Marketing Organisation, said Phuket would make an ideal tuna boat hub.

''There is a clear link already between fresh seafood and tourism,'' Khun Pramuan said. ''Phuket exports 4000 tonnes of tuna each year, mostly to Japan.''

Expansion of Phuket as a fishing hub is being proposed as Phuket's diving industry continues to highlight the damage done to Thailand's coral reefs by illegal fishing and the dropping of nets.

Although an annual cleanup by volunteer divers removes hundreds of kilos of netting and other waste from Phuket's reefs, the day's outing does nothing to address the problem.

Talks are urgently required between Phuket's fishing and diving industries and enforcement of existing laws protecting marine life is also urgently required.

Problems being experienced by Andaman coast divers in Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga should be explained carefully to Commerce Minister Boonsong.

Joe Blasy, who is one of the Go Eco Phuket Conservation Group and a dive instructor with Sea Bees Diving, has supplied photographs to Phuketwan that he says show a net dropped just days ago on protected Shark Point.

''This is illegal in two different ways,'' he says. ''Gill nets are not allowed on reefs full stop in Thailand, plus Shark Point is a marine sanctuary.

''It's very concerning when fishing nets are literally dropped on top of you while diving in a marine sanctuary, which is supposed to have legal protection from this kind of thing.

''It not only destroys corals which can take decades to grow, it can get entangled on divers.

''Gill nets are almost invisible. They capture and kill anything that gets caught it them, including endangered turtles, sharks and rays.''

Mr Blasy said divers have recently reported seeing the gill nets being laid out in the evenings around Shark Point and Anemone Reef, ''both of which were granted marine sanctuary status in 1991, which is supposed to protect them from commercial fishing activities.''

Shark Point is not far from Phi Phi, off Phuket's east coast.

Mr Blasy said the recent incident has occured ''just weeks after divers found, and removed, a large trawlers net which had become entangled on Shark Point No. 3.''

''What is clear is that Phuket's premier dive site is under attack by illegal commercial fishing which continues completely unchecked.

''After diving and trying to protect these reefs for 12 years, it is a very depressing thing to see.''

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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This is disgusting to even have this mentality of non thought. It tells everyone you're here for the quick buck and think nothing of the future. I will end my comment with, this is why I gave up diving here, the reefs don't say I am dying, they scream it. Commerce minister just a facy name for money grabber.

Posted by Inepto Cracy on August 28, 2013 12:23

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ah yes - nothing like another HUB in Thailand. They really do love this word.

Posted by Ciaran on August 28, 2013 13:28

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No wonder many in other countries laugh at Thailand and then Thais get upset. Enough said.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on August 28, 2013 17:42

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When, the Ministry of Tourism & Sports will built modern ports and marinas for professional fishing tour and dive boats at Chalong Bay Marina in Phuket as well in major tourism destinations in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand?
Additional new fishing ports and piers are all time built for the greedy predators of fish stocks investing in new fishing boats, where the other way, many countries around the world are sending fishing boats to scrap to reduce overfishing in the oceans.
Decision-makers and policy-makers are driving the country in the opposite direction of what they should do.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 28, 2013 20:56

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It's the alternative solution. Discontinue Phuket as a tourist destination & turn it into a commercial wasteland. It's already well down that road so it shouldn't cost much or take long to achieve.

Posted by Logic on August 28, 2013 21:21

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Never can learn anything from the other countries. Respect the zone of marine park and let the fish grow up in some limitated areas is the first key to preserve the fish stock for the future.. Sorry: most of thais never think about the future...

Posted by dave on August 29, 2013 09:41

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It's quite simple really, they've just got to ban gill netting and confiscate all gill nets.

Posted by Captain Silver. on December 8, 2013 19:27

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Old new, but in these days very update. Try to get a look at the sea in front of kata anda karon in the night time( but I suppose it's the same all long Phuket).. hundred, yes hundred of fishing boat with so many light that can see for miles frfom the beach. Only 2-3 years ago were not more than 10. Soon, very soon all marine life will be wiped out..

Posted by dave on December 9, 2013 01:11


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