Fresh mackerel. (Photo: Terje Engoe/Copyright: FIS)
Mackerel stocks boosted with tougher management measures
Friday, May 19, 2017, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
Mackerel stock increase in the Gulf of Thailand over the last three years shows that marine resources are being managed as demanded by the European Union (EU), according to the Department of Fisheries.
One of the measures introduced by Thai authorities was the ban on some trawlers and fishing gear in the middle part of the Gulf from February 15-May 15. The ban covered an area of 26,400 square kilometres and was imposed during the mackerel's egg laying season, The Bangkok Post reported.
Surveys by sonar in the area had found around three tonnes of adult mackerel and 10 tonnes of baby mackerel, representing a big increase before the ban was imposed.
"This is the first time we have surveyed the mackerel since the ban. The population has increased based on what our surveys show, and what local fishermen tell us. This is all thanks to tougher regulations and cooperation from fishermen," pointed out Adisorn Promthep, chief of the Department of Fisheries.
In his view, it is an indicator of marine resources management which the EU might take into account when considering their actions in preventing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) after the EU had warned it might ban imports of Thai seafood if it did not address IUU issues, including the use of illegal fishing illegal fishing labour and improper treatment of workers, together with destructive fishing gear.
The department insists much progress has been made, including a vessel monitoring system, Port-In/ Port-Out reporting and on-board surveillance.
Further actions taken by government authorities include the ban on the use of sonic tools and sunken nets to catch mackerel.
To strengthen the initiatives carried out so far, officials will impose a fishing tool ban to preserve mackerel in the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand and would extend the conservation period of the species from two to four months.
The department intends to ensure the adult mackerel population is big enough for breeding and boost sustainable marine resource development.
Thai authorities have been informed that representatives from the EU will visit the country in July to pursue the matter.
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