Public Health Ministry to amend law on puffer fish meat sales

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BANGKOK, 18 February 2012  – The Public Health Ministry is poised to make the sales of puffer fish meat legal in the near future. 

Mr. Surawit Khonsomboon, Deputy Minister of Public Health, said that the Health Ministry has been informed that fishermen in Samut Songkhram Province have continually caught 100-150 tons of puffer fish as the bycatch every day.

Sold at between THB70-300 a kilo, this bycatch can translate into a huge amount of revenue for fishermen, Mr. Surawit said.

However, laws have forbidden the sales of puffer fish meat, due to the poison the fish produce.

But, the Deputy Public Health Minister stated that the poison in puffer fish is technically seasonal and found during certain times of the year and the Department of Medical Sciences has successfully developed a test kit that can be used outside the laboratory and takes only 20 minutes to verify the presence of the poison.

Therefore, the Public Health Ministry is planning to discuss with related agencies about the possible amendment of the law to allow the puffer fish meat sale in the future, in order to turn this catch into something that has economic value and benefit the fishing industry.