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Asia Dive News : Thai fisherman arrested with protected species

Phuket, Thailand - Rawai sea gypsy Taweelert Harntalay, 39, was caught with a boat load of protected fish while fishing off Koh Bon on Saturday.

He was arrested by Phuket Marine Police working with officers from the Phuket Marine Biological Center.

Pol Col Chalit Kaewyarat, Superintendent of Chalong Police Station, said, “In his boat were many protected fish, including lobsters, clown fish, butterfly fish, moray eels and parrot fish, all packaged in about 20 bags.

“Taweelert admitted to the charges and said that he did not know the identity of his employer. He said he was fishing with four other people, but they escaped by jumping overboard,” Col Chalit explained.

Taweelert was paid about 20 US dollars per haul, and he had been on many such fishing trips before, Chalit said.

“After each catch they usually anchored off Rawai Beach. Their employer would send someone to collect the fish and they would be paid later.

“He said that he made more money catching protected fish, and that it took less time to land a haul than fishing legally,” Col Chalit said.

“We have charged him with illegal possession of protected fish, and we have sent the case to Phuket Provincial Court,” he added.

Source: Phuket Gazette