BANGKOK, Nov 29 — Fishing boats in the waters off Thailand.
A scene of beauty and a scene of commerce.
But now environmental groups are warning that Thailand and its multi-billion-dollar fishing industry — may be facing a losing battle against climate change.
Industry experts point to rising seawater temperatures.
That means longer days for fishermen who say the fish population has halved over the past five years.
“We used to get tonnes and tonnes of fish from one or two rounds of laying the fishnet. Nowadays, we had to lay the fish net down three to four times. The number of fish have drastically declined,” says fishing boat captain Kasem Yarnpratueng, 54.
But marine biologist Suchana Chavanich says the problems have more to do with overfishing than climate change.
“Even though there’s climate change happening now, if we have no fish, the climate change is not going to have an effect on the fish population. So, overfishing is probably still the main important thing that is happening in the Gulf of Thailand,” says Associate Professor Suchana Chavanich, a marine biologist at Chulalongkorn University.
She says the decline in fish stock has pushed fishermen into illegal zones. “
A potential problem for Thailand, the world’s third largest seafood exporter, who is desperate to avoid an EU ban.
The EU issued a warning last year about concerns over the impact of overfishing on the marine environment. A warning with a potential price tag for Thailand. — Reuters