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Fisherfolk sail their boats to Bangkok to call for action

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/HaRDstories
Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/HaRDstories

“Mackerel will disappear from the Thai food menu, and we will probably lose it forever. Mackerel is our common food, yet it is becoming rare like teak,” said Wichoksak Ronnarongpairee, manager of the Thai Sea Watch Association, during a 15-day journey through the Gulf Of Thailand to demand national action to save juvenile fish. 

The team of environmental rights defenders sailed out of Pattani, a Muslim fishing community in the Deep South, on 26 May. With help from volunteering fisherfolks along the coast, they held discussions with local communities to raise awareness about the need to protect juvenile fish. 

The rising consumption of juvenile fish disrupts the food chain threatening famous Thai dishes like Nam Prik Pla Tu or mackerel chilli paste. 

Almost halfway through their journey, the team arrived at Tha Chana Beach, Surat Thani province, where local fisherfolk set up protective crab banks to breed and reintroduce horse crabs to the ocean.

On 6 June, the group will arrive at the Parliament in Bangkok to demand concrete actions to enforce the existing regulations on catching juvenile fish from the government. The group is also preparing a campaign for the protection of the ocean during #WorldOceanDay2022 on 8 June.