«Sampan Panjarat The United Nations-Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme 2007 - 2008 DIVISION FOR OCEAN AFFAIRS AND THE LAW OF THE SEA OFFICE OF ...»
In general, commercial boat owners have more than one boat, and some also own a private fishing port and at the same time play the role of middle men87 and investors. In Ranong, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Trang and Satun Thai fishing masters are hired for fishing operations and most of the crews are from Myanmar; in Krabi both fishing master and crews are Thai. The fishing boats from the Ranong Province operate both in Thai waters, Thai-Myanmar boundary waters and some of them have licenses to operate in Myanmar water concessions areas. Some of fishing boats from Satun Province have two flags of registration, that of Thailand and that of Malaysia, so they can operate in both States’ waters.
Crew size varies depending on the size of the boat and range between 8-17 on an individual trawler, and approximately 18-40 on a purse seiner. The crews receive both salary and a percent of the profit. For the purse seine fisheries, the profit will be shared each moon cycle. For the trawler, a percent of profit will be shared after six months, one year or longer.
Middle men refer to traders who buy fish directly from fishers at the landing site then sell it to fish markets or other buyers at a higher price. Some middle men also give loans to small fishers, the fishers who own only one boat or have a small amount of liquid capital, and then buy back catch from these fishers at a controlled price.
- 37 Most crews never know the exact total profit or how it is calculated. It absolutely depends on the owner. One thing is certain, if crew members quit early they will not get the share. This means the owners or investors take advantage of the crews for their own benefit.
Catches are sold to the port owner, investor, and middleman or by auction at landing sites which are private or semi-government fishing ports. Fishing costs are higher following the increasing of fuel prices while the catch is less and uncertain. For the smaller fishers, when they have no catch or during the monsoon season, they have to take a loan to maintain their business, to support the crews and to repair fishing gears and boats. Bigger fishers, who have many boats or related businesses such as fishmeal factories, ice processing plants and so on, may leverage cash flow to maintain fishing operations. Several types of commercial fisheries (otter board trawl, purse seine and push net) are operated at a financial loss. Fisheries operating budgets are balanced by loans or revolving funds from related business.88 (b) Small scale fisheries Small scale fishery refer to fishing without boats or using non-power, outboard powered or inboard powered boat of less than ten gross tons. They use traditional or low efficient fishing gear, operating from fishing villages, rarely spending more than twelve hours at sea. Most small scale fishing villages are situated along the coast. The fishers generally fish inshore waters within three km from the shore. They typically employ small trawl nets, gillnets, push nets, lift nets, set bag nets, traps, hooks and lines and other stationary gear operating in estuaries, Phang-Nga Bay, Krabi bay and in nearshore waters along the cost. As previously noted, only the main fishing gears are registered with DOF, while many other fisheries remain unlicensed and virtually unrecorded, most of them making use of small scale fishing gears.
Most of the fishers own more than one type of fishing gear for alternative use in different fishing grounds and seasons. The crews are comprised of one to three family members and/or one to three hired crew members. The greatest cost (more than 50%) is for fuel. In most fishing villages situated along the coast in rural areas, the fuel prices are higher than in urban areas. The amount of catch and income is uncertain, especially in the monsoon season when the fishers M. Boonyaratpalin, 2002. New concept for Thai marine capture fisheries management.
Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand. 108 p.
- 38 must suspend their activities for a long time. Some fishers find themselves in a situation where they must take a loan from a middleman to maintain their living, to invest or repair the boats and gears. Fish catch has to be sold back to the middleman who controls the price and as a result of this more than 70% of fishers are in debt.89 According to the Ministerial Notifications 2515 (1972), there are reserved zones within three km. from shoreline for nursing juvenile fish and invertebrate. Within the zone, only the small scale fishing can be operated, the commercial fisheries or fishing gear used with the motorized fishing boat are prohibited.90 But there is continuing illegal encroachment by commercial fisheries. Small scale fishers have lost their traps, nets and other small scale fishing gears by illegal acts of commercial boat. So, there are conflicts between them. Some commercial boat owner lease the boats (only by document) to fishing masters, thus they can claim it back immediately when it is caught by patrols for fishing in prohibited areas or being involved in illegal fisheries. Because of limited budget, only limited inspection by patrol service vessel are possible, thus small scale fishers believe the regulation is not effective and that the Government is not committed to arresting the violators.
The production of fisheries resources by the small scale fisheries sector is important:
small scale fisheries comprise on average about 16.5% of the marine fisheries production but are valued at about 26.6%. This means the majority of marine resources available to the small scale fisheries operating in inshore waters are economically important species.91 However, the marine resources exploited by the small scale fishing gear operating inside three km from shore use a very small mesh size net. For example, in 2004, the size of banana prawn caught by small scale fisheries in Ranong Province was smaller than the mature size.92 S. Panjarat, et al. Fishermen’s Attitude on Management of Blue Swimming Crab Resources in The Andaman Sea.
op. cit. 13-13 pp.
DOF, Book of Fisheries Law, (in Thai). 2004. 111 p.
S. Chullasorn. op. cit. 72-84 pp.
P. Aosomboon, Keawnern U., and Rithisaman J. 2004. Coastal Fisheries in Ranong Province. Andaman Sea Fisheries Research and Development Center. Marine Fisheries Research and Development Bureau. DOF. Technical Paper no. 2/2004. 31 p.
(a) Tsunami The 2004 tsunami of 26 December 2004 affected hundreds of thousands of people.
Nearly 500 fishing villages along the Andaman coast were seriously affected, about 30,000 households dependent on fisheries have lost their means of livelihood. The impact of the tsunami was amplified in fishing communities because it occurred during the moon period when many purse seiners and other light luring fishing boats had stopped fishing and were in port.
Over 10,000 fishing boats and 7,000 fishing gears were destroyed or damaged.93 Exact data on fishers, fishing boats and fishing gears is lacking because only main fishing gears and boats with inboard power engines are registered, as previously noted. There were many unregistered fishing boats and gears for which compensation was claimed.94 The highest number of unregistered small boats, less than 10 m, was in Phang-Nga (1,585) followed by Phuket (671) and Krabi. The highest number of unregistered big boats, larger than 10 m, for which compensation was claimed were in Ranong (142) followed by Phang-Nga (43) and Phuket (28) (Table14).
However, many larger scale fishers may not have reported losses because they do not require compensation, i.e. the amount offered is quite limited compared with their losses and therefore not worth the administrative paperwork to make the claim.
AFRDEC, Data of Tsunami Recovery & Rehabilitation for Fisheries Sector in Thailand. Post Tsunami Assessment and Fisheries of Marine Resources along the Andaman Sea Coast of Thailand. Thailand Fisheries Journal. Vol. 58 No. 6. 519-531 pp.
Typical documentary evidence required for compensation is the vessel registration document, or permission to fish document (in date). Since the majority of vessels that have been damaged or lost are in the small scale category, very few actually have registration documents. In this case alternative evidence of ownership may be considered or
used as supporting evidence:
• Statement of ownership by the Provincial fisheries Office (stating the boat is repairable or beyond repair)
• Document of guarantee from a fishers association, farmers group, or fishery cooperative stating the owner is a member, or
• Sub-district headman (Gamnan)
• Guarantee document from the village headman may be accepted
• Record in the fishery survey, there are several categories of loss that are eligible for compensation:
i) Support for the recovery of a vessel (i.e. refloatation, or movement of the vessel – since many have been swept some distance inland above the high tide mark).
ii) Support for repairs to a damaged vessel iii) Compensation for vessel loss (or damaged beyond repair)
Source: DOF, Summary of Fisheries Damages Caused by Tsunami. Fishery Information Technology Center, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
December 2005. 1-1 pp.
- 41 The tsunami damage in the fisheries sector was very substantial but the Government, semi-Government, private sector, NGOs and international organizations mobilized to help both in terms of funding and fishing materials. Even the exact change in the number of boats and gears before and after tsunami is not clarified yet but it shown increasing in many areas after tsunami.
For example, in Ranong Province the data showed 840 fishing vessels and 97 gears lost due to the tsunami, DOF paid cash compensation to all boat owners (Table 7). At the same time the private sector, NGOs and other donors have replaced 1,133 boats and provided fishing gear to 1,785 people. That means a replacement rate ratio of 1.35 boats for every boat lost and a gear replacement ratio of 2.125 per vessel lost.95 Not all of the donated boats are used for fishing, some of them are used in the tourism or aquaculture sectors, but donated fishing gear is absolutely be used for fishing.
This new increase in fishing capacity has lead to concerns96 because the increased number of fishers might induce more competition and severely impact both marine resources and fishers. Due to the overfished nature of the Andaman Sea Fisheries as described above, those fishers who were assisted in restarting their fishing livelihood, while benefiting by reengaging in fishing, will in the long term earn less than they did before the tsunami.97 So, the assistance given with good intentions will unintentionally harm the fisheries resources and have long term negative impacts on the sustainability on fisher livelihoods.
(b) Fuel crisis Fuel is the main cost factor in the fishing business. The amount of fuel used depends on the kind of boats, engines and gears utilized. Since 2001, because of the fuel crisis, DOF has assisted the fishers by subsidizing fuel through two projects: The Green Fuel Program and the Purple Fuel program.
B. Crawford, Trip Report January 7-19, 2006, Post tsunami Sustainable Coastal Livelihood Program. 1-11 pp.
The Worldfish center stated with thoughtful concern the rehabilitation of area after tsunami that should be sustainable and long term basis. In “Rebuilding Boat may not Equal Rebuilding Livelihood” The WorldFish Center, Consortium to Restore Shattered Livelihoods in Tsunami-Devastated Nations, Policy Brief No. 1. 4 p.
B. Crawford, op. cit. 1-11 pp.
- 42 The Green Fuel Program supplied fuel for the commercial boats since 2001. It is tax free and supplied by the companies’ tankers which are licensed by Government and operate in the continuous zone (12-24 nm). There are about 10,000 boats participating in the program, with an average fuel supply over 1,700 million liters per year.98 Another reason of supply the Green fuel to fisheries is to prevent the operation of illegal fuel suppliers at sea.
The Purple Fuel Program provides a special grade of fuel that contains lower sulfur dioxide and is appropriate only for boat engines. It has been supplied to small scale fishers by tankers on land and available at a lower cost than the normal price of fuel at two baht per liter, instead of the normal fuel.99 In the current climate, fishers have to adapt fishing methods to reduce their cost. For the commercial fisheries, fishers select fishing areas more carefully and compare the value of worthwhile fishing in far away or nearby fishing grounds. They utilize more effort at each fishing area to make sure that they have enough catch. Purse seiners use more light luring and FADs. The individual light boats were set in the sea while the fishing boats only to fish at light boats sites. They operate more net sets on each trip, while the distances between settings areas are reduced. For trawlers, the fishers haul every hour instead of every three to four hours, and when there is less catch, they move to other fishing grounds. The fishing days are longer and the catches are carried by other boats which land before the fishing vessel.100 In 2007, some commercial fishers from Krabi who could not maintain their business had resigned from fisheries.101 Moreover, there are some more commercial fishers that proposed to resign, especially the fishers who have small amounts of liquid capital, but they could not sell their boat because nobody would by them during the fuel crisis. So, some fishers had to remain in fisheries because they were in debt.
In the small scale fisheries, the fishers select fishing areas more carefully and put in more effort on each trip to make sure that they have enough catch. For example, fishers increase net sets from three sets to six sets per trip, while the distances between sets are reduced. In addition, more than one type of fishing gear is used on each trip. For instance, they set blue swimming National Fisheries Association Thailand, Number of Vessels in the Green Fuel Project. Bangkok. 2007. 1 p.
“DOF have arranged to provided fuel purple at landing site” Manager, 1 June 2550, sec. I, 5-5 pp.
AFRDEC. The fuel crisis impact to fisheries along the Andaman Sea coast. Surveying during 31 August- 31 October 2006. Phuket. 11 p.
Thumawadee Jaiyen, Fisheries Biologist, monthly fisheries survey, Andaman Sea Fisheries Research and Development Center, Phuket, personal communication. 15 July 2007.