Wichin Suebpala is a PhD student at the Department of Environmental Science, Graduate School, Chulalongkorn University. He is also a researcher at the Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Faculty of Science, Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok, Thailand. He is interested in ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, and is currently conducting his PhD research on ecological impacts of fishing gears with emphasis on bycatch and habitat damages in Ko Chang, Thailand. Wichin is also interested in the roles and efforts of small-scale fishers in environmental stewardship as well as their livelihoods and local knowledge. He is hoping his study will provide useful data to support implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management in Thailand. Wichin is currently staying at the TBTI headquarters at the Memorial University of Newfoundland , Canada as part of the TBTI Fellow Program.
We asked Wichin a couple of questions about his work and this is what he had to say:
What are you currently working on within the context of SSF?
WS: In Thailand, understanding and research of ecological impacts of fishing gears are very limited, especially the gears used in small-scale sector. Hence, my study is mostly focusing on the ecological impacts of small-scale fishing gears such as traps, lines, nets, krill push nets and others, all of which are generally used in my study site or elsewhere in Thailand. I am also incorporating social contexts of SSF into my work. This work could be beneficial for establishment of appropriate policies to sustain both natural resources and SSF livelihoods.
If you could single out one or two most significant factors for securing sustainability of SSF, what would these factors be?
WS: I believe that sustainability of SSF is highly depended on fisheries resources. Any options that maintain ecosystem functions and services could support fisheries resources and further make SSF viable. In order to secure sustainability of SSF, fishers’ awareness of the importance of ecosystems and fisheries resources is an important factor that needs to be built up to protect ecosystem integrity and functions as well as the responsible fisheries approaches. In an area that has many users and stakeholders, rights to access resources should be properly allocated with fairness and equity. Just as importantly, the use of resource should not exceed the natural capacity.