6 June 2024

One man has been arrested for killing endangered sharks off the coast in the southern province of Krabi, as Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has ordered park officials in the southern province of Krabi to track down the owner of a speedboat and a group of men who shot dead three blacktip reef sharks during a fishing expedition.

A video clip, which was posted on Facebook, shows a group of men angling from a speedboat. One of them is seen pulling out a gun and firing several shots into the sea. Then they pull three dead blacktip reef sharks on board. The incident took place between Phi Phi and Ha islands.

Prakai Ouiwong, 26, was arrested last night (Monday) by Krabi Marine Police. He admitted having killed the sharks along with six other friends on Sunday, and being the one who used the gun when their fishing rods that got them two sharks up the boat broke to bring the other one up.

The environment minister told the media today (Tuesday) that he has seen the clip and feels very saddened about the sharks, which are a protected species, and angry with the perpetrators especially the one who shot one. Blacktip reef shark are considered “Near Threatened” according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threatened species criteria.

He blamed the group for contributing to marine life depletion in Thai waters, noting that the country is under close scrutiny by the United States for illegal fishing activities.

Mr. Varawut said that there is no reason to kill the sharks, because they did not pose any danger to the men, who were all on board the speedboat, adding that he has previously filed charges against two foreigners after they were caught damaging coral reefs.

The minister said he has instructed park officials to track them down, including the owner of the speedboat, and to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.