Gov’t Lifts Clam Ban, Keeps Limit on Fishing Equipment in Gulf

The government lifted a ban last month on harvesting surf clams, but will continue to limit the types of fishing equipment and the size of boat engines permitted in the Gulf of Thai­land, said Nao Thuok, director of the fish­eries department at the Minis­try of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

He said the government will in­sist that fishermen use small fishing equipment and small boats to prevent practices detrimental to the marine environment.

Last December, prompted by an increasing number of com­mer­cial fishermen encroaching on shallow coastal waters re­served for small fishermen who depend on those waters to support their families, the government took action to halt the use of commercial fishing equipment along the gulf coast.

In the past, commercial fishermen used a steel shovel device to scoop up surf clams in shallow waters, officials said. The shovel swept up everything off the ocean floor. It has been banned, Nao Thuok said.

The number of commercial fishermen using this type of de­vice has increased in the last two years. This has prompted small fish­ermen to struggle in an impoverished marine environment, officials said

Disputes have in­creased in recent years because commercial fishermen using modern equipment have en­croached on shallow waters, where subsistence fish­ermen eke out a living.

The surf clams are in an area of approximately 30 square km near Koh Kong, Siha­noukville and Kampot.

However, fishermen can legally harvest them in just 12 square km near Kampot and Siha­nouk­ville, Nao Thuok said.

Fishermen are prohibited from gathering surf clams during two spawning seasons, one during April and May and the other in October and November.

 

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