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Phuket fisheries chief defends blacktip shark fishing, ‘not illegal’

Phuket fisheries chief defends blacktip shark fishing, ‘not illegal’

PHUKET: Watcharin Rattanachoo, Chief of the Phuket Fisheries Office, has repeated his explanation that the fishing of blacktip reef sharks in areas not protected by law is not illegal.

marineanimalsenvironment
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Saturday 19 June 2021, 04:34PM


The call follows photos of a haul of blacktip reef sharks at the Phuket Fishing Port circulating on social media overnight.

Mr Watcharin already confirmed to The Phuket News yesterday that the fishing of blacktip reef sharks in non-protected areas, although not liked by many people, is not illegal.

His repeated call for understanding among the public today follows the photos of the blacktip reef sharks in baskets at Phuket’s Fishing Port being posted on the Facebook page of well-known Thai marine conservationist and marine animal rights leader Prof Thon Thamrongnawasawat, Deputy Dean for Special Affairs at the Faculty of Fisheries of Kasetsart University.

There is currently no law stating that the fishing and distribution of blacktip sharks is an offense if the regulated fishing equipment is used, Mr Watcharin said.

He also explained that blacktip reef sharks are often caught as by-catch.

“When smaller fishing vessels [under 10 tonnes gross] aim to catch grouper and other local fish, some blacktip sharks tend to be caught sometimes when they come to feed and gather around the shoreline rocks,” Mr Watcharin said.

“Depending on the time [of the year] the sharks move into the fishermen’s fishing area. This is usual during the rainy season from around January to early June,” he added.

“Therefore, from the news above, it is not considered a violation of the law if fishing in the area is not prohibited and the correct equipment is used,” Mr Watcharin said.

Mr Watcharin pointed out efforts by the Phuket Fisheries offices in the past to prevent fishing in protected areas and the illegal fishing of specific species, especially whale sharks.

“But in the news such as the blacktip reef shark, the law does not make it an offense. We must also be fair to fishermen,” he said.

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treasurefish | 20 June 2021 - 19:29:45

Greedy fishermen are their own worst enemy. Plenty of chances to throw the poor sharks back into the sea. Thailand needs to do a better job of protection!!!

CaptainJack69 | 20 June 2021 - 12:53:05

It's his job to make it illegal. Sharks are apex predator's and essential to the health of the fisheries he is supposed to protect. The fisherman themselves know how rare these creatures have become, and if they, and the general populace were at all educated on the subject then it wouldn't be tolerated.

maverick | 19 June 2021 - 16:48:44

Fisherman with Guns - really ? 

 

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