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  1. #1
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    Cambodia slaps fishing ban against Thai fishers

    Cambodia slaps fishing ban against Thai fishers
    Wednesday, December 02, 2009


    Deepwater trawlers moored at a Thai port.
    (Photo: Terje Engoe)

    Some believe the Thai and Cambodian governments might be headed into a path of collision due to the fishing ban Cambodia's Koh Kong authorities instituted against Thai fishers in mid-November. Local industry experts interpret the ban as conventional practice, however.

    Officials established a ban because limiting fishing activities will increase concession fees; authorities are already planning on upping the monthly concession fee from BHT 60,000 (USD 1,780) to BHT 80,000 (USD 2,400) per trawler. With this increase, fishing in these waters could end up costing over BHT 100,000 (USD 3,000).

    In part, the ban was placed because, as rule violations have led to depleted fish stocks in Thai waters, Thai fishers have taken to fishing in foreign waters. Additionally, it was placed because Thailand has a reputation for overfishing, Bangkok Post reports.

    Thai fishers have often been found filling illegally in foreign waters as far away as the Middle East and Africa. Meanwhile, the country’s fishery exports have yielded over BHT 120 billion (USD 3.5 billion), or more than 13 per cent of revenues earned by the agricultural sector.

    "Overfishing and the use of vast nets and highly advanced tools has depleted the fish stocks in the Gulf of Thailand over the past decades, forcing Thai fishermen to explore new sources," said Mana Sripitak, chairman of the National Fisheries Association of Thailand.

    He estimates that over 800 Thai industrial trawlers are now navigating foreign waters. More than 200 trawlers are operating in Indonesia, 100 in Malaysia, up to 300 in Burma and more than 100 are in Cambodia’s waters.

    These trawlers catch tuna, Indo-Pacific mackerel, sardines, anchovies and other species to satiate the robust demand of the Japanese, European and Middle Eastern markets, among others. Most of the catch gets processed on the vessels before being landed at buying ports or back at Thailand, Mana said.

    The Fisheries Department also estimates that over 5,000 trawlers are fishing commercially in national waters alongside small fishing boats – this helps bring the total volume fish to 4 million tonnes yearly. However, Mana said volume has been dropping along with the number of commercial boats for a few years now.

    Setting a ban during the hatching season is essential, and also to encourage aquaculture while fish stocks recover. Although normally the department bans fishing during the hatchery season of March-July, numerous fishers have violated the measure.

    fis.com

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    Oh goodie. The monkeys are playing again.

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