6 June 2024

A complaint was lodged with Bang Khen police today (Monday), by Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, accusing the owners of 27 trawlers of encroaching on and illegal fishing in Tarutao National Park, in the seas off the southern province of Satun.

In January, a group of sea gypsies living on Lipe Island in Satun told Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the national deputy police chief, during his visit to the island to investigate a land dispute problem, that they had seen numerous trawlers fishing illegally near the island and in the territory of Tarutao National Park.

The islanders’ complaints prompted the Fisheries Department and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to launch a joint investigation, using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) to track the activities of the trawlers.

27 trawlers were found to be fishing illegally during December and January, an offense punishable by five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of 500,000 baht on conviction.