The Department of Fisheries has announced the implementation of measures to manage and conserve aquatic resources in the central Gulf of Thailand, specifically the mid-section of the Gulf. This initiative spans the provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, and Surat Thani, covering an expansive area of 26,400 square kilometers. The regulations are bifurcated into two periods, the first extending from February 15 to May 15, 2023, and the second from May 16 to June 14, 2023.
Aimed at safeguarding the spawning grounds and nurturing the early life stages of fish, the closure entails restrictions on various fishing tools. These measures contribute to sustainable marine life by allowing the mature fish to lay eggs and facilitating the growth of juvenile fish entering the Gulf of Thailand.
Mr. Bancha Sukkaew, the Director-General of the Department of Fisheries, emphasized the significance of these measures in preserving the economic vitality of marine resources, particularly tuna. The regulations have been meticulously devised to align with the life cycle of tuna, ensuring optimal reproduction and sustainable resource rejuvenation. The department, with over 70 years of continuous efforts, has consistently adapted the closure policy to address changing resource dynamics.
The closure implemented in 2022 showcased promising outcomes, with a substantial increase in the catch of tuna along the Gulf of Thailand. The data revealed a 16% surge in the tuna catch compared to the previous year, reflecting the positive impact of the closure policy.
During the first period, spanning from February 15 to May 15, 2023, the regulations prohibit the use of certain fishing tools within the defined area. However, exceptions are granted for specific small-scale fishing vessels employing non-impactful tools. These include tools like pair trawls, hand-operated purse seines, and certain types of traps. This ensures that responsible fishing practices can continue without compromising the conservation goals.
In the second period, from May 16 to June 14, 2023, the regulations become more detailed, allowing for a broader range of fishing tools. This includes the use of towed gears and purse seines without length restrictions, with nighttime fishing permitted outside the coastal sea area.
In conclusion, these measures stand as a testament to the Department of Fisheries’ commitment to sustainable resource management. The closure not only protects spawning grounds and juvenile fish but also encourages the responsible practices of the fishing community. The Director-General expressed gratitude to the fishing community for their cooperation and adherence to the regulations, inviting them to participate in the closing ceremony on February 14, 2023, at the Fishing Port in Pak Nam, Chumphon. The ceremony, presided over by the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr. Thammanat Prompao, aims to celebrate the collaborative efforts towards sustainable fisheries.