The Association of Thai Fisherfolk Federation (ATFF) on July 3 issued an urgent statement in favour of the government’s effort to eradicate illegal fishing in Thailand, and also announced relief plans to help the public affected by the banned sailing of illegal vessels.

In the statement, ATFF President Sama-ae called for stoppage of destructive fishing practices using dangerous fishing equipment such as trawl, push nest, and electric tools for catching young fish, after these practices had been allowed for more than 30 years.

The statement identified that the practices were mostly carried out by business investor groups, who also often violate the regulation that prohibits fishing in the conservation area which is less than 3 kilometres from shore, causing many conflicts that lead to the harassment to folk fishermen.

The ATFF claimed that the number of folk fishermen accounts for 85 percent of the entire fishermen in the country, but can catch only 23 percent of the total catches as most of the catches come from illegal fishing practices. It also expressed in the statement that the eradication of the illegal fishing practices would help lift the EU’s yellow-card warning on Thailand.

On the planned strike of fishing vessels and fishery related businesses in Songkhla scheduled to begin on July 4 which might cause the price of fishery products to rise, the ATFF announced that it would hold a campaign to sell fishery products at fair prices at various spots to help consumers during the time of shortage of seafood in the market.-VNA