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«Sampan Panjarat The United Nations-Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme 2007 - 2008 DIVISION FOR OCEAN AFFAIRS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA OFFICE OF ...»

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Second, the Fisheries Act, B. E. 2490 was drawn up in 1947 before the development of marine fisheries. The Act is drafted primarily with inland fisheries in mind, and the main purpose was to collect taxes from fishermen.303 All kinds of fishing gears and methods are

divided into two categories:

• Those that required a fishing license as specified in the Ministerial Regulations; and

• Those that do not required a license.


C. Karnjanakesorn, and Yen-Eng, S. 1998. Revision to Thai Fisheries Law and Opportunities for CommunitiesBased Management. In Nickerson DJ (ed.) 1998: Communities Based fishery management in the Phang –Nga Bay.

Thailand. Proceeding of the National Workshop on Communities Based management organized by the Department of Fisheries of Thailand. FAO and the Bay of Bengal Programme, Phuket, Thailand, 14-16 February 1996. FAO Bangkok. RAP Publication 1998/3 (BOBP) Report No. 78: 159-168 pp.

- 84 Gear requiring licenses are indicated in Table 17. Licensing fishing gear is the responsibility of DOF304 while vessel registration and licensing is under the mandate of the Harbor Department.305 This separation of competencies has lead to some mismatch of data on fishing gear and fishing boats that have negative effects on the control fishing effort and management. Gear licensing is required only for highly destructive gear, so the exact fishing effort by others gear, especially the small scale fishing gear is never reported. Moreover, some fishing gear which did not require license in the past has become more efficient and thus has a higher impact on marine resources.

Some fishers who own non-license fishing gear (such as giant traps) but register with DOF as license fishing gear (such as squid falling net) because the Harbor Department does not believe that this fishing gear (such as giant trap) does not require a license because of the capacity of non-licenses gear. If fishers have no fishing gear license to identify they would not permitted. The incorrect licensing requirement is also significantly reinforced as the Harbor Department may not license a fishing boat if it has no licensed gear. So fishers just require gear licenses for their convenient, they accept to pay taxes or fees because they are small.306 That means fishing gears recorded by DOF is not coincident with the exact fishing gear belonging to fishers.

Taxes and fees are small when compared with the present currency307 and first and foremost, the taxes for fishing gear license are not dependent on capacity of that gear. Some of fishing gear has disappeared completely and some of the fishing gear has been adapted for more fishing potential but the tax or fees have remained (Table 17-19).

Thailand: Fisheries Act, B.E. 2490. op. cit.

Thailand: Thai Vessel Act, B.E. 2481 (1938) S. Panjarat. Interviewed by author with 20 fishers, Ban Namkem Village, Takuapa District, Phang-Nga Province, Thailand. January 2005.

One of living cost index for Thai is a cost of egg; in October 2007, price of a dozen eggs is 25-35 baht.

–  –  –

The Thai Vessel Act includes 9 chapters, namely: the registration method and register document, transference of registered boats, mortgaging and preferential right of the registered boat, name and changing or renewing registration of the registered boat, the right and special duty of Thai boats, miscellaneous chapter, and a penalties and provisional chapter. Under the Thai Vessel Act, all vessels with inboard power engines or the vessel more than 6 ton gross without power engine engaging in domestic fisheries must be register under Thai flag at Harbor Department. 308 The Thai Vessel Act, B.E. 2481 (1938) effect to Thai vessels in Thailand include fishing vessel. Because of fishery is restriction for foreigners, foreigners are prohibited from participating in the fishery for marine animals within Thailand’s EEZ. For the domestic fishing vessels, the owner must be either by a natural person of Thai nationality or juristic person incorporated under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code with at least 70% Thai is shareholders in that juristic person.

The Thai Vessel Act does not relate to fisheries management, it directly regulates all kinds of boats. Thus, controlling or reducing the number of fishing boats requires the operation between the DOF and Harbor Department. However, for more effectiveness, the Thai Government should control fishing boats separately from other boats this system should be integrated with the fishing gear licensing system. The specified organization or unity of action to regulate fishing boats and their gear would allow for effective control and management.

(iii) Fish Market Act B.E. 2496 (1953) The main provision in Fish Market Act B.E. 2469 (1938) are establishment the Fishing

Marketing Organization as the juristic person and its regulation that aims to:

• carry on and bring about prosperity to the fish wholesale market, the market for fisheries merchandise and fisheries industry;

Thailand: Thai Vessel Act, B.E. 2481. Government Gazette Vol. 56. 10 April 1939.

–  –  –

In order to implement this mandate the Fish Marketing Organization of Thailand is established as a semi-governmental organization and one of the State enterprises which is attached to MOAC. It plays a prominent role concentrate in catch production at the landing sites, fishing port organization and marketing service. It rarely participates in fisheries management or provides loans to fishers, and does not work with small scale fishers in rural villages who do not use fishing ports for landing.

The Fish Marketing Organization should promote fishing cooperative societies or associations and should implement fishing cooperatives in rural areas as provided in its mandate.

The cooperatives system would effectively eliminate the need for middle men.

(c) Legislation indirectly impacting fisheries There are legislations that indirectly impact fisheries, including the legislation that was

enacted after the tsunami event of 2004.Thease include:

(i) National Parks Act B.E. 2504 (1961) The provisions in the National Pak Act B.E. 2535 (1992) relate to fisheries that impact MNPs and their licensing of or management of these parks.310 Under this Act, all kind fisheries in the MNPs are prohibited. There are 16 MNPs on the Andaman coast of Thailand.311 They are protected, managed and operated by the Department of National Park, Wild Life and Plant Conservation, Ministry of National Resources.

Thailand, The Act Organizing the Activities of Fish Market B.E. 2496. 9 January 1953.

Thailand, National Parks Act B.E. 2504. Government Gazette Vol. 78, Part 80, October B.E.2504 (1961).

T. Sethapun, op. cit. 18 p.

- 89 Fishery activities are considered a central problem in many MNPs, especially for the coastal parks which incorporate traditional fishing grounds. The conflict between conservation and marine resources utilization is currently increasing in Thailand. According to existing legislation, fishing within parks is prohibited. It is noted that when it comes to enforcement, this issue is treated in a flexible way, with some MNPs allowing fishing. However, local fishermen in general feel that the MNPs put unnecessary constrains on local fishing activities. The use of illegal and inappropriate fishing gear has negatively impacted the MNPs environment. Trawling has also had a very negative impact on marine resources both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. In particular, the use of push nets and explosives along the shallow coast of Thailand has resulted in a severe decline in fish resources.

Although fishing within the marine parks remains an important issue, the problem is addressed in a relatively effective way. Illegal fishing has been reduced during the last five years. Various local NGOs and local people have in particular played a significant role in increasing awareness as well as cooperating with park staff for protection. Another factor contributing to the decrease of illegal fishing is the increase in tourism activities in park areas.

This will automatically repel the illegal fishing activities from the park areas.312 (ii) Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992) The provisions in the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992) cover marine animals which are listed as wild animal in the Reservation and Protection lists.313 The Act prohibits hunting,314 breeding,315 possessing,316 trading317 importing or exporting318 wild animals. Furthermore, the Act provides a mechanism for establishing wild animal reserve areas.319 However, the Act allows the survey, study, research, of wildlife protection, breeding, or for the interest of public zoological garden enterprises carried out by the Government sectors Ibid.

Thailand, Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535. Government Gazette Vol. 109, Part 15.

28 February 1992.

Ibid. section 16.

Ibid. section 18.

Ibid. section 19.

Ibid. section 20.

Ibid. section 23.

Ibid. chapter 6.

–  –  –

The Act prohibits activities including fisheries that impact marine animals in the list, and prohibits fishing in wild animal reserve areas. In general, the fishers do not intend to catch whales, dolphins, or sea cow unless these animals are caught in the nets or gear by accident.

Nonetheless, the high fishing effort and the use of destructive fishing gear impacts the habitat and life cycles of these endangered and rare marine species. Presently, there is no legislation concern by-catch of fisheries.

(iii) Notification of Environment Protection in the Impact Area of Tsunami in Krabi, Trang, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Ranong and Satun Province, 12 April 2549 (2006) The Notification of Environment Protection the Impact Area of Tsunami in Krabi, Trang, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Ranong and Satun Province, 2549 (2006 the Notification) was established by the Ministry of National Resources and Environment with propose to rehabilitate the coast and its environment impacted by the tsunami.322 It covers four issues, including; natural resources, ecology system, nature condition, and environment.323 The key provisions of the Notification are as follows;



Thailand, The Notification of Environment Protection the Impact Area of Tsunami in Krabi, Trang, PhangNga, Phuket, Ranong and Satun Province, 2549. Government Gazette Vol. 123 No. 52, April 12, 2006.


–  –  –

Before the 2006 Notification was legislated there were some opposition from DOF, who did not agree to include the ornamental fish (especially Pomacentridae family) in the protection list of the 2006 Notification. The DOF view these species as part of culture fisheries which could be developed into alternative fisheries for fishers. On the other side of the issue the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) took the position that such species should be protected through the listing process so as to prevent the harvesting of ornamental fish for trading. This position was taken because of the increase in such practices due to the rising popularity of the aquarium trade which could lead to the extinction of certain species if no regulations are put in place.

In the end, DMCR position prevailed because even the ornamental fish can be cultured but at present there are no instruments to identify the culture fish from the wild fish, thus it will be a channel for illegal fishing. And as outline above, ornamental fish became listed under the 2006 Notification.

2. National Fisheries Policy

DOF is the lead national agency in policy development for fisheries in Thailand. The responsibilities of DOF are to research, develop, and manage fisheries resources and aquatic animal production so as to meet domestic consumption and provide for export of high-quality products. Including so, it must ensure sustainable utilization of fisheries resources and protection of the environment.325 DOF divides fisheries policy into five categories, each of which has specific missions to guide the policy implementation. The Thai fisheries policy categories and their respective missions are summarized below in Table 20.


DOF, Thailand. Fishery Policy Directions of Thailand. Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. 2006. 19 p.

–  –  –

- 93 As noted above, DOF is responsible for Thai fisheries management. However, in 2002, a new department was established within new Ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment: The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) aim at conserving resources in the coastal ecosystem that included both living and non-living in the areas. Since then, the responsibilities for the fish and ecosystem management have to be shared with DMCR which responsible for the coastal area.327 Thus, it made the overlapping mandate of the responsibility for example, the implementation of the concern legislation which is responsibility by the both department that lead to some argument as noted previously. Although, it is expected that the DCMR will be joint the responsible for the fish and ecosystem that aim for conservation while the DOF responsible for the fisheries resources management for sustainable use. The relationship between the responsibilities and mandate of DOF and DCMR for fisheries is still being negotiated.

The national framework on fisheries in Thailand is currently undergoing considerable change to meet international agreements and principles for sustainable and responsible fisheries.

Presently, there is a draft bill for a new Fisheries Law before Parliament which addresses many of the current fisheries concerns. However, even with the new Fisheries Act, it will be difficult to avoid overlapping mandates between DOF and DCMR because both have a mandate regarding the same resources and concerning the same group of stakeholders. The overlapping mandates of both Departments, such as the establishment of measures and regulations establishment, artificial reef installations, causes confusion amongst fishers and stakeholders.

Cooperation and negotiation between organizations would be an effective solution, as both have the same objective to maintain the resources for the long term.

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