Birthday Buzzkill: Environment minister goes diving, finds illegal trap

Photo: Top Varawut / Facevook
Photo: Top Varawut / Facevook

A top eco official got a total birthday bummer when he encountered an illegal fish trap at the bottom of the ocean. 

Varawuth Silpa-archa, minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said Sunday he was diving off Koh Tao on a belated birthday trip when he discovered the trap near a coral reef.

“On the weekend, I and my family came for a diving trip in Koh Tao to admire the undersea beauty on the occasion of my birthday,” Varawuth wrote online. “But then I had to jump to work anyway. While I was diving, I found this fishing trap. So I had to contact the Marine and Coastal Resources Department to seize it and look for the owner.”

Sophon Thongdee, Marine Department director, said the large trap enclosed a weighted net three meters long. Its placement near a coral reef was deemed a long-term threat to the reef and ecosystem.  

Placing a fishing net near a coral reef violates the Marine and Coastal Resources Management Act and is punishable by up to a THB100,000 fine and year in jail.

Sophon said he would reach out to local fishermen about the issue.

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