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Dugong population under threat from commercial fishing

Thailandís dugong population is now under threat. Trawling and fishing by push net has caused a dramatic and continuous decline in the marine animalís population. According to official statistics, more than 10 dugongs have died over the past 4 months as a result of commercial fishing.

The autopsy of a 40-year-old male dugong in Thailandís Satun province clearly showed the animal did not die from illness or infection. Instead, the oedema in its chest helped confirm the dugong had struggled to survive so hard it was finally died of shock.

A marine biologist at Phuket Marine Biological Centre, who performed an autopsy for this dugong, believed fishing tools were the culprit.

ďAlthough thereís no wound on its body caused by a fishing tool, there are traces inside the body, which indicate the dugong suffered a serious shock. For instance, an oedema in pericardium and a blood clot in the torso. These traces were believed to be from a fishing tool,Ē said Phaothep Cherdsukjai, a marine biologist.

Phuket Marine Biological Centre Commercial fishing, namely by trawler and  push net, is directly resulting in a sharp drop in the dugong population, as well as other endangered species such as sea turtles.

Illegal fishing within restricted area of 3,000 metres from the shoreline causes the large animals to be trapped in a net, unable to push themselves up to breathe on the seaís surface, which finally ends in their death.

ďIf illegal fishing persists, within the next 10 to 20 years, endangered marine species including dugongs and sea turtles would become extinct in the Thai ocean,Ē said Phaothep.

Construction of wharves, owing to growth of the tourism business, is also impacting on the survival of seagrass which is the dugongís source of food. If no immediate measures are taken by the government, the dugong might become a thing of the past in Thai waters.  (TNA)

From : MCOT English News

 Posted by admin on March 06 2009 15:50:50 0 Comments : Reads 2517 Print  

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