Fishermen to petition against catching of inedible, immature fish
A group of small-scale fishermen, from 23 provinces, arrived in the estuary of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok today (Monday), after a voyage of over 10 days from the southern province of Pattani, as part of their campaign to end to the destructive catching of inedible and immature fish which, they claim, will wipe out fish stocks in the Thai waters.
During the voyage, which started on May 27th at Panareh beach in Pattani, the group stopped in Prachuap Khiri Khan, to attend a public discussion on the issue of inedible and immature fish catches.
The group plans to sail up the Chao Phraya river to parliament, arriving on June 8th, World Oceans Day, to submit their petition, addressed to the government and to parliament, to push for the enforcement of the Fisheries Act B.E. 2558 (2015), which sets the size of fish that can be caught legally, to preserve immature fish and other marine species.
President of the Federation of Small-scale Fisher-folk Association Piya Thedyam blamed the overfishing of immature fish and other marine species by large-scale fishermen, to supply the animal feed industry, for the destruction of fish stocks in Thai waters, depriving small-scale fishermen of the means to make a living.
He claimed that the commercial fishing industry was given 82% of the fishing quota, while small-scale fishermen, who collectively own about 50,000 fishing vessels, were given just 18%.
He said that, even if small-scale fishermen are allowed to fish every day, they still cannot match the capacity of the commercial fishing fleets, which are equipped with trawling nets and other modern fishing devices.
He also said that small and large-scale fishermen must practice sustainable fishing, which must include an end to the catching of inedible or immature fish, to ensure that there continue to be fish in the waters.
Piya cited the case of mackerel which, he said, are fast disappearing from the seas. In 2014, a total of 128,835 tonnes were caught, but the amount reduced to 24,374 tonnes in 2019 and 18,436 tonnes in 2020. In the meantime, he noted that immature mackerel and other fish were found on sale in the form of processed food.