The famous fresh fish market at Ang Sila pier in Bang Saen district of Chonburi province was shut down by local government authorities early this morning with reason that it is unsafe.
The shutdown of this old or over 50 years old fresh fish market on the pier in Ang Sila was conducted by authorities from the Fish Marketing Organisation (FMO), Bang Saen district, and the Royal Thai Navy in a quiet predawn raid.
Authorities blocked the entrance to the pier where over 200 fish vendors erected stalls along the narrow concrete bridge with traffic barriers and prohibited any entry to the pier.
The shutdown of the famous fresh fish market drew strong opposition from hundreds of fish vendors who gathered at the pier and called for relaxation.
But the FMO director Mr Manop Kanchanaburangkul explained that the closure of the pier was mainly based on safety reason because the pier was built over 50 years ago and it was time for repairs particularly its basement structure which was eroded and badly damaged.
He said if nothing was done to repair the structure, it could collapse and hurt vendors as well as tourists.
He said a budget of 186 million baht has been set aside for the repair which will take one to two years.
After the repair, the FMO will grant concession to new operator to run the pier in a auction to find a new investor.
The FMO will also become a co-investor, he said.
But fish vendors said they wanted the FMO to allow them selling at the pier for another six months reasoning by that time a new fish market on the beach built by Ang Sila Municipality will be finished.
However this was rejected by the director who said he was sympathetic with the vendors who have stocked their seafood for sales.
But he said he would allow them to sell at the pier until only August 6 and by midnight of August 7, the pier would closed definitely.
He said authorities will begin dismantling makeshift stalls of the vendors on the pier and they all will be arranged to sell at an adjacent car park area in Ang Sila instead on a temporary basis.