Article: Ecological Impacts of Fishing Gears in Thailand: Knowledge and Gaps

 Ecological Impacts of Fishing Gears in Thailand: Knowledge and Gaps


Authors: Wichin Suabpala, Ratana Chuenpagdee, Charoen Nitithamyong, and Thomasak Yeemin

Around the world, knowledge about ecological impacts of fishing, especially in the small-scale sector, is generally poor, impeding  the implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries. The same condition exists in Thailand where fisheries sustainability is a major concern. This paper, lead by TBTI student Wichin Suabpala, provides a comprehensive literature review in order to assess current knowledge and gaps about ecological impacts of common fishing gears used in Thailand.

The analysis shows that impacts from trawling are mostly reported in terms of amount of trash fish andundersized/juvenile economic fish. Impacts of fishing gears on marine mammals (such as dolphins and dugongs) and sea turtles are reported, but only qualitatively. Very little is known about discards and information about habitat damage is generally limited although a few studies qualitatively describe impacts of seine nets, trawls, dredges, and push nets on seagrass beds, coral reefs and benthic community. The study study reveals a major gap in understanding the ecological impacts of fishing gears in Thailand, particularly in relation to discards and habitat damage, which needs to be addressed in order to implement ecosystem approach to fisheries.