Illegal fishing boats depletes fish in Similan Islands

 Illegal fishing boats depletes fish in Similan Islands

Fishing boat in Koh Samet, Thailand. Image: Philippe Gabriel.

In light of recent stories regarding the coral bleaching at Similan Islands and other areas of southern Thailand, I want to bring to the world media’s attention a problem that may have even more severe consequences for the future of Similan National Park. The problem is illegal fishing within the marine park and the plight of the shark population.

It is no secret to most people working on dive boats or day-trip boats to Similan that fishing is happening on a large scale even though the rules state that no animal is to be harmed within the park boundaries. Yet fishing boats are often seen at night time as close as 500 metres to the protected islands. There are also many large fish traps dropped well within park limits. These traps are clearly identifiable by the floats used to mark their locations. Many of these fish traps are seen on dive sites; I have seen these traps at up to 8 different sites.

Even more disturbing is the plight of Koh Tachai, another island supposedly protected by the national park. During the night it is common to see illuminated drift net fishing taking place around the whole island.

Read more: Bangkok Post


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