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BANGKOK 19 March 2019 00:57
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jackinbkk

Over Fishing

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If you've spent any time in Thailand you will have seen the effects of overfishing in the waters in and around Thailand. Visit any temple or pay pond and it is amazing just how many fish can inhabit the water and how big they can grow. Compare this with the wild where you can fish for months without a bite from anything but tiddlers. Then there are fish like the giant freshwater stingray which have managed to survive to huge sizes thanks to a stealthy lifestyle. The carp and catfish also grow to colossal sizes thanks to sheer numbers. A few survive and when they do they get big.

It is interesting to compare this situation to somewhere like Florida. A place where most people don't need to fish to feed themselves and a climate that is similar to many parts of Thailand. Fish there and you'll catch huge snook, redfish, colossal grouper (that dwarf even mekong catfish) and more sharks from the beach than you could imagine. Thousand pound tigers, and hammers, 300 to 400lb bulls and speedy blacktips that strip a spool quicker than anything I've ever seen in the kingdom of Siam. (If Thai's like hauling in those cats then they'd have a ball being harnessed to a rod and reel with a fish on the other end that could be 5 times their size.)

It would be great if Thailand could also be like this. As economic trade shifts more to the east maybe citizens incomes will rise and overfishing will lessen. Hooking those Thai catfish is awesome fun but hooking some of those Sharks on Florida beaches is just a whole new level. Thailand definitely has the natural resources to sustain big game fish. There's plenty of dives with sharks around the islands. If it was possible to catch more GT and similar species around the coast and predators in rivers and lakes on a regular basis then I could only see Thailand benefiting from increased sport fishing. Plus once ecosystems recover I could foresee there being so many fish that taking a few home would not have such a detrimental effect as taking all you can catch home.

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I agree, but as long as the per capita income stays as low as it is, I can't see it changing.

I once calculated how much it cost me to catch a decent fish by dividing the boat payment, gas, bait, equipment, meals, and everything I spent on a day of fishing. It was scary- the economic value of a single fish was in the $100-150 range and that broke down to about $30-50 per pound- and that was catch and release. It would have been even scarier if I had stayed in hotels like I would in Thailand.

If it were just about the fish, I'd have never gone out again. And most folks that don't have the fever don't understand that it's not about the fish.

But that's money going into different pockets than the tiny percentage of that amount the fishermen take home for a similar 3-5 lb fish. And that's a tough thing to force on fishermen (or any segment of the population)

Just like shifting from selling ivory, to selling $$$$ tourist packages to see elephants in Africa, there will always be some part of the population that will take as many fish as their technology will allow them- until the laws change. Then when the cost of breaking the laws (multiplied by the odds of being caught and not just paying a small gratuity) exceeds the "take" from breaking those laws, fishing as a tourist industry can take off...

Won't be in my lifetime, unfortunately. I am encouraged by the $$$ of tackle I see in the hands of locals at venues like BSR and Pilot 111 since it's obvious these guys are not there for the meat, and are willing to spend the money. They're the ones that will either make it happen....or not.

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There are roughly 67,000,000 people in Thailand (on the order of the size of florida). Take that many people and put them in Florida with he same per capita income and see how long the fishing lasts (or the frogs, aligators, deer, boar,..... . Oh, and take away the gulf stream and give it a monsoonal climate. It is real easy to pick out the problems, but at the end of the day, you have a choice. If you don't like the fishing here......

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I agree, but as long as the per capita income stays as low as it is, I can't see it changing.

I once calculated how much it cost me to catch a decent fish by dividing the boat payment, gas, bait, equipment, meals, and everything I spent on a day of fishing. It was scary- the economic value of a single fish was in the $100-150 range and that broke down to about $30-50 per pound- and that was catch and release. It would have been even scarier if I had stayed in hotels like I would in Thailand.

If it were just about the fish, I'd have never gone out again. And most folks that don't have the fever don't understand that it's not about the fish.

But that's money going into different pockets than the tiny percentage of that amount the fishermen take home for a similar 3-5 lb fish. And that's a tough thing to force on fishermen (or any segment of the population)

Just like shifting from selling ivory, to selling $$$$ tourist packages to see elephants in Africa, there will always be some part of the population that will take as many fish as their technology will allow them- until the laws change. Then when the cost of breaking the laws (multiplied by the odds of being caught and not just paying a small gratuity) exceeds the "take" from breaking those laws, fishing as a tourist industry can take off...

Won't be in my lifetime, unfortunately. I am encouraged by the $$$ of tackle I see in the hands of locals at venues like BSR and Pilot 111 since it's obvious these guys are not there for the meat, and are willing to spend the money. They're the ones that will either make it happen....or not.

I think they are just the Elite and upper ends of Thai society. A Thai on a typical salary probably can't afford to fish BSR. Not when there's other fishing parks for a quarter the price or less. I get what you are saying about there appearing to be more people with greater incomes but it's probably the minority.

The costs you pay though are probably similar to anglers going on fishing trips for tuna etc. The difference being that a big tuna could pay for the whole trip.

Unfortunately the whole world is in a depression. Which isn't helping anything.

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but at the end of the day, you have a choice. If you don't like the fishing here......

Yes, you could spend your tourist dollars in Costa Rica, which was an early adopter of eco-tourism, and has 1.5 x as many tourists per capita as Thailand, and the tourists (on average) spend more money. (Check out economic conditions, per capita in Costa Rica and you'll see they have a lot of the same dynamics as Thailand, but they have world class fishing)

But I live here in Thailand, and I'm certainly not going to abandon my paycheck here because of the fishing. Instead of spending $30-$50 today on fishing, I could have spent $10 on some beers and then a condom. (I'd have preferred to spend a couple of hundred dollars on some better fishing and a boat ride, but no such luck.)

The question is, what kind of tourists does Thailand want to attract?

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but at the end of the day, you have a choice. If you don't like the fishing here......

Yes, you could spend your tourist dollars in Costa Rica, which was an early adopter of eco-tourism, and has 1.5 x as many tourists per capita as Thailand, and the tourists (on average) spend more money. (Check out economic conditions, per capita in Costa Rica and you'll see they have a lot of the same dynamics as Thailand, but they have world class fishing)

But I live here in Thailand, and I'm certainly not going to abandon my paycheck here because of the fishing. Instead of spending $30-$50 today on fishing, I could have spent $10 on some beers and then a condom. (I'd have preferred to spend a couple of hundred dollars on some better fishing and a boat ride, but no such luck.)

The question is, what kind of tourists does Thailand want to attract?

That's a whole new topic. I know they like fishing for farang husbands. biggrin.png

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I believe it is about the Thai mentaly. Everything what I see is about it, "Shit on rules, me first, this is mine, ...!!!" I see to much Thais (sometimes Farangs, too!!! ;-)) who think they can do what they want.

  • At the Maprachan Lake outside Pattaya the had wrote everywhere that its forbidden to use fishing-nets. But everyday someone use it. No one worry.
  • The most who come fishing not use only 2 fishing rods/p.P. (in Germany not more allowed). No, they have 6 - 10.
  • They take out every fish. Don't worry it is to small and to young and if grow up it's a very big fish.
  • No one worry about the fish spawning period. They never return a fish back into the water.

How can there be a good fish standard at the lakes or rivers or the sea?

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I believe it is about the Thai mentaly. Everything what I see is about it, "Shit on rules, me first, this is mine, ...!!!" I see to much Thais (sometimes Farangs, too!!! ;-)) who think they can do what they want.

  • At the Maprachan Lake outside Pattaya the had wrote everywhere that its forbidden to use fishing-nets. But everyday someone use it. No one worry.
  • The most who come fishing not use only 2 fishing rods/p.P. (in Germany not more allowed). No, they have 6 - 10.
  • They take out every fish. Don't worry it is to small and to young and if grow up it's a very big fish.
  • No one worry about the fish spawning period. They never return a fish back into the water.

How can there be a good fish standard at the lakes or rivers or the sea?

Everywhere I'd see no fishing signs (so I was told by the wife, I can't read Thai) I would see lots of people fishing. Like you say, not only fishing but netting as well.

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The government hatchery down the road produces full time to stack the local lakes with a number of species. These lakes could certainly produce more total Kg of fish if managed, but the government doesn' choose to do so. The governemt just keeps dumping tens of thousand of fry in so people can take them out. I don't argue that resources could be managed more effectively, I just don't see it as our place to judge. come to the country and try living on a rural wage and then show me how much of a conservationist you can be.

I have several ponds on my farm and used to keep one that was totaly controlled by me and I could catch fish whenever I want. Now all of the ponds are treated the same as the one I controlled and my family (Plus others occasionally)can catch all they can eat. I don't think anyone uderstands what I am doing and they don't care as long as the fish are biting. If I had the money, I'd build a big lake and manage it to teach people what could be done.

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The government hatchery down the road produces full time to stack the local lakes with a number of species. These lakes could certainly produce more total Kg of fish if managed, but the government doesn' choose to do so. The governemt just keeps dumping tens of thousand of fry in so people can take them out. I don't argue that resources could be managed more effectively, I just don't see it as our place to judge. come to the country and try living on a rural wage and then show me how much of a conservationist you can be.

I have several ponds on my farm and used to keep one that was totaly controlled by me and I could catch fish whenever I want. Now all of the ponds are treated the same as the one I controlled and my family (Plus others occasionally)can catch all they can eat. I don't think anyone uderstands what I am doing and they don't care as long as the fish are biting. If I had the money, I'd build a big lake and manage it to teach people what could be done.

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