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Outrage over blacktip reef sharks sold at Phuket fish market

Outrage over blacktip reef sharks sold at Phuket fish market

PHUKET: The Phuket Fisheries Chief has confirmed that blacktip reef sharks are not protected species following outrage online sparked from photos of a haul of dead sharks in baskets at Koh Siray, in Rassada, today (June 18).

By Chutharat Plerin

Friday 18 June 2021, 06:42PM

“At this stage, the blacktip reef shark has not been classified as a protected animal,” Watcharin Rattanachoo, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office, told The Phuket News today 

“I understand the photos may hurt people who love animals, but the fishing and selling of these sharks is not illegal in Thailand,” Mr Watcharin said. 

Marine life expert Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat has campaigned for years for greater protection of blacktip reef sharks after a haul of the fish were found on sale at a fish market on Koh Lanta. 

“Blacktip reef sharks and many other sharks are not protected animals [in Thailand’. I’ve tried to push for this many times. I hope we can progress, especially for hammerhead sharks and leopard sharks, whose numbers are rapidly falling,” Dr Thon said in a Facebook post in 2019.

“We must push for the protection of sharks, especially these two species [hammerhead and leopard sharks],” Dr Thon said.

“We need to learn more so that we know how many sharks are needed to preserve a amrine ecosystem,” Dr Thon noted. 

“Sharks are important to the ecosystem and the food chain. Sharks are also important for tourism,” Dr Thon wrote.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is planning to list blacktip reef sharks as a protected marine species, after a TikTok clip of five men using a firearm to kill the sharks in Krabi came to light on Monday (June 14), reports the Bangkok Post.

The incident took place outside of the protected environmental zone, about 96 kilometres from Hat Noppharat Thara – Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. The video clip showed a group of five men shooting at three blacktip reef sharks and two trevallies, before hauling them aboard a speedboat, named Ding Lor Zing.

Even though the sharks were not yet listed as a protected species, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa slammed the group’s behaviour, calling it an act of gratuitous violence.

“I’ve already instructed Jatuporn Burutphat, permanent secretary for environment, to work with all relevant agencies to review our policies to better protect our marine resources. Agencies in the areas have also been instructed to beef up surveillance and better educate local residents,” Mr Varawut said.

Sopon Thongdee, Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said the department will be reviewing its list of protected animals and will register blacktip reef sharks as protected marine species.

“These sharks pose no threat to humans,” he said.

He has instructed Marine and Coastal Resources Office 10 to file a complaint with Muang Krabi Police against the men featured in the video for using a boat without permission, which is punishable by a B10,000 fine.

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Kurt | 20 June 2021 - 10:19:36

It looks like mr Watcharin is just a bureaucrat at his desk, staring 'laws'. Pehaps he follow environment classes with DThon and other marine life professionals? After that nothing blocks him to advice his superiors about saving all sharks. fishing with guns, poison, explosives fishing at all. It are plane marine life crimes.

once burned | 19 June 2021 - 16:00:06

Asia is a completely different kettle of fish for all westerners & we have to accept it, esp. being regarded as a class which is below many Thai's. if you marry a Thai, life is a whole lot easier. If Dave hangs out in tourist traps like patong, by and large, your money is welcome, but you may not be. 25 years living here, with a western wife does make life difficult; but better than elsewh...

Christy Sweet | 19 June 2021 - 14:31:01

Once the oceans no longer have predators and the ecology halts - plankton, which supplies the majority of our oxygen, dies and  Earth will be rid of the greedy,49985 selfish humans. Unfortunately all the other  mammals will be extinct, too.  Hello epoch of the  insects !! 

ematt | 19 June 2021 - 12:37:17

Hey Dave_C, I wonder what your are doing that causes people to treat you like s..t?  I have lived here for twenty years and I have felt very welcome the entire time. Maybe you need to change your attitude or behavior? 

Dave_C | 19 June 2021 - 10:22:16

Just like the environment.

Dave_C | 19 June 2021 - 10:21:04

I don't think "protection" is in their vernacular. It they can capitalize, they will sell. Undersize or protected does not matter.
Protection of the environment is not part of their behaviour. If you cut your foot on the beach because of glass, that is your fault just like a road accident.
We live here as guests and we have to accept being treated like "s..t" just like th...

Kurt | 19 June 2021 - 09:52:24

Great that the Blacktip shark will finally become protected in Thailand. Hope same for Hammer- and Leopard sharks.  What to think about that "using a boat without permission" ? I not understand that. From who do I need permission to sail my own long tail boat?

JohnC | 19 June 2021 - 09:33:17

[“These sharks pose no threat to humans,” he said.]  Very true. Us humans on the other hand are a threat to every other species on the planet. Aren't we a sad excuse for the supposed most intelligent beings on earth.

CaptainJack69 | 18 June 2021 - 23:16:44

How about illegal use of a firearm? Gun licenses are supposed to be strictly controlled in this country. If you fire a gun for any reason, even inside your own home, you are required to report it and give a reasonable explanation. Mindlessly butchering innocent creatures may not be a criminal offence but firing a gun in public very much is.


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