Large boats squeezing out small fishermen in Wong Amat

Friday, 20 April 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 16 By  Warunya Thongrod

The traditional way of life for Naklua’s small fishermen is in danger of disappearing after large fishing companies moved into the area, pushing independent boats further offshore to less-fertile seas.

The corporate fishing vessels have set up base on Wong Amat Beach at Naklua Soi 19. That traditionally has been home port for about 30 small fishing boats which worked closed to shore, catching fish and crabs. But now, the small fishermen say, large boats are trawling the area with big nets, damaging coral reefs, squeezing out small boats and destroying marine breeding grounds.

At Wong Amat, small fishermen, for whom fishing is their major source of income, are being pushed out by larger commercial boats. At Wong Amat, small fishermen, for whom fishing is their major source of income, are being pushed out by larger commercial boats.

“Before the big boats dropped their seines, fishermen like myself had to go just a mile offshore to catch fish. But now we have to go near Koh Larn three miles offshore,” said 42-year-old Sombut Samosorn. He said the trips are less profitable due to higher fuel and food costs.

“I and others have tried to negotiate with the large companies, but there has been no change. I even informed the Banglamung Fishing Office, but no help has been offered.”

Fisherman Prasert Ken-aash, 32, said he used to easily pull squid, crabs, cichilidae, shortjawed barracuda, and thread fin fish from the local waters. “But since the big boats came in, the small fish, which are prey for the big fish, have disappeared.”

He noted that Pattaya City Hall has worked to build the local fish population with artificial reefs but, at the same time, has not regulated fishing in the area. He urged officials to prohibit large boats from fishing so close to shore.

In addition, the Wong Amat fishing community wants the city to promote crab breeding and continue to lay artificial reefs to not only protect the marine ecosystem, but a way of life in Naklua.

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