Bangkok Meeting Addresses Overfishing in Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean

By

Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
January 27, 2009

Thailand last week hosted a seven-nation summit looking at the future of fishing in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. The Thai fishing industry consists of some 4,000 vessels operating outside domestic waters.

Participating in the summit were the member countries of the Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (Bimstec), including Thailand, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. Representatives met in Bangkok, Thailand, to discuss fishing potential and environmental challenges in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.

Weera Pokapun of the Thailand Department of Fisheries said the results of a recent fish population survey matched those of a recent Indian Ocean Tuna Commission survey.

In the case of yellowfin tuna, the findings showed a significant drop in population further offshore compared to coastal waters. Overfishing was the primary cause, according to the surveys.

Bimstec will also consider the effects of vessel noise pollution, oil residue pollution and other environmentally harmful activities such as illegal fishing. There was also a call for greater cooperation between member countries to address all of these issues, especially in the regional waters off the coasts of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar.

Due to its dependence on the region's fishing potential, Thailand has a vested interest in keeping the waters of both the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal as clean and healthy as possible.

A report on last week's discussions in Bangkok will be considered by government ministers when they meet later this year. 

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