Deputy Minister Siriwat Khajornprasan presided over the July 24 ceremony at Samae San Beach with sponsors from the Fisheries Department, Navy SEAL unit, Burapha University and the Love Wildlife Foundation.
The Ministry of Agriculture released 99 small sharks into the wild in hopes of rebuilding at least one of Thailand’s many endangered species.
About 200 in all participated in the event, which saw 99 bamboo sharks set free in waters protected by the Royal Thai Navy. Bamboo sharks measure less than a meter long when full grown, although project sponsors noted few sharks in Thai waters ever reach maturity due to overfishing.
Fisheries Department Director Wimol Janthrarothai said Thailand’s waters are home to 19 families and 63 species of sharks, all of which are endangered. Some are harvested for the much-maligned sharkfin soup, while others are taken as juveniles by Thais ranging from tourist boat crews to local fishermen.
He said the project organizers “have confidence that when they sharks are released they will be able to grow to breeding size” because they are being set free in Navy-patrolled waters. He noted bamboo sharks are small and pose no threat to humans. Most sleep during the day.