By Khanitta Sitong,
The proposals will be made to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
The brainstorming conference at the Andaman Foundation office in Muang Trang stemmed from the recent deaths of several dugongs swept ashore in Trang and Krabi.
“Dugongs travel up and down the coasts of six provinces, not just Trang, so all these provinces must come together to take care of these near-extinct dugongs and lower the death rate among other rare marine animals,” said Trang Traditional Fishing Club president Aren Phrakhog.
“We must plan together and go in the same direction to reduce the use of dangerous fishing implements, protect the ecosystem and curb the garbage in the sea.”
The groups will propose:
• Surveillance including a “Dugong Patrol” checking beaches for any marine creatures washed ashore, with team members also campaigning to discourage the use of dangerous fishing gear in areas with fields of sea grass offshore.
• Eradication of waste involving community participation and educating the public about the hazards posed to marine life by Styrofoam and plastic containers. People would be encouraged to establish “garbage banks” and youths would be taught about dugong conservation and garbage management in schools and special camps.
• Conservation zones for sea grass and marine life such as dugongs, dolphins and sea turtles with protective buoys bearing warning signs.
• Activities to train network leaders in the law and marine policies and vocational training on adding value to locally made products.
• Surveys of coastal erosion and seeking out solutions.
• Mangrove-forest management by local communities.
• Identifying deteriorated mangrove forests that could be redeveloped for residential use with speedy issuing of title deeds.
Officials from Marine National Park Operations Centre Trang 3 and related agencies also surveyed sea grass fields off Koh Mai Ngam in Krabi’s Koh Lanta National Park territory. The findings are expected to be useful in establishing a dugong conservation zone.