Phuket – Authorities have locked down two boats tied to the illegal catch and release of a pregnant whale shark, barring them from movement until the case is finalized.
Authorities from the Marine Office of Phuket have locked down Saeng Samut 2 and Saeng Samut 3 at Arun-Nok fishing pontoon in Rassada sub-district of Phuket province. The boats have also been imprinted with symbols denoting their status as unusable until legal proceedings against them have concluded. The case against the boats stems from an incident on May 18 when one of them was filmed illegally catching and then releasing a whale shark.
Logistics specialist Sakhon Pudam indicated that investigators are collecting evidence in the matter, which revolves around violation of Article 66 of the Fisheries Act, which delineates the whale shark as a rare and endangered species that is not to be caught.
The operator of the two boats has also been hit with an additional charge of illegally hunting and capturing a protected animal in violation of Article 16 of the Protected Animals Act.