Sunday, July 25, 2021

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40 divers rescue Thai reef from destruction by 800-kilo fishing net


A team of 40 divers have lifted an 800-kilogram fishing net that was strangling a coral reef near Ko Losin, an islet in the Gulf of Thailand off Pattani province.

The reef rescue mission began on Friday, led by divers from the Natural Resource and Environment Ministry and supported by the Royal Thai Navy, minister Warawut Silpa-archa said on Monday.

“The Royal Thai Navy deployed the HTMS Rawi coastal patrol craft, a patrol airplane and a helicopter as well as 15 officers and other equipment for the mission,” Warawut said.

The three-day operation ended in success on Sunday after a fishing net measuring 200 by 50 metres and weighing around 800 kilos was fished out of the sea.

“The ministry would like to thank everyone who helped in this mission, especially the IMAN Camera Facebook page owner who took underwater photographs of the fishing net, which led to the saving of Ko Losin’s coral reef,” the minister said.

40 divers rescue Thai reef from destruction by 800-kilo fishing net

Department of Marine and Coastal Resources director-general Sophon Thongdee added that the fishing net had covered about 2,750 square metres of coral, and after its removal, an area of about 550sqm was found to be damaged.

40 divers rescue Thai reef from destruction by 800-kilo fishing net

“About 10 per cent of the islet’s coral reef is suffering from bleaching while about 5 per cent was broken by the fishing net,” he said. “Other aquatic wildlife such as sea anemones, crabs and sea urchins were also crushed or tangled by the fishing net.”

The department is now seeking the owner of the boat that used the surrounding net to catch fish hiding in underwater rocks. “Using such nets that destroy coral reefs is a violation of Wild Animal Conservation and Protection Act of 2019 and punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a 1 million baht fine,” Sophon said.

Published : June 21, 2021

By : THE NATION