Sustainable Development Success Stories

Community-Based Fisheries Mangement in Phang-Nga Bay

Location  Phang Nga Bay, on the Andaman sea coast of Thailand. The project covers 114 of the 5,700 villages that lie scattered around the Bay coastline.
Responsible Organisation

Andaman Sea Fisheries Development Centre (AFDEC), Phuket, Thailand, of the Department of Fisheries, Bangkok, Thailand and the FAO/Bay of Bengal Programme, Chennai, India.


The main problem of fisheries in Phang Nga Bay is the over-exploitation of pelagic and demersal stocks resulting in reduced fisherfolk catches and incomes, and fears of drastic dwindling of the stocks; degradation of the fisheries habitats caused by waste discharge from industry and tourism; and difficulties in enforcement measures. Before the project came into being over three years ago, better management awareness was urgently needed on the part of all stakeholders in fishing villages of the Bay. Also needed was systematic implementation of management measures with the full co-operation of the community. In other words, a people-centered ecosystem-based fisheries management programme to conserve and replenish the fisheries resource.

The Project supported a workshop on Community-Based Fisheries Management (held in February 1996) that discussed management issues and possible solutions in depth. Representatives of many of the 114 villages of Phang-Nga Bay covered by the Project now come together for regular monthly meetings to discuss, initiate and monitor management activities. These are implemented by the Andaman Sea Fisheries Development Centre of the Department of Fisheries with the help of the community, and are supported by BOBP. Activities include:

· The promotion of cage culture of finfish, culture of oyster and mussel, and open water stocking of finfish and shellfish seeds, in order to widen income options for fisherfolk and enhance fish stocks.

· The banning of the use of trawls and motorized push nets within 3km of the shoreline, and within a radius of 400m from any stationary gear. Compliance with the ban is ensured by a fleet of monitoring patrol boats, and penalties for violations. The ban is supplemented by a gear exchange programme, where the fisherfolk voluntarily gave up their motorized push nets, (regarded as resource-destructive fishing gear) in return for gillnets provided by the government. Displaced push net operators were offered opportunities in coastal aquaculture. The FAO’s Telefood Special Fund has been approached for their further support.

· The installation of over 40 artificial reefs at the entrance to the Bay, to keep trawlers and pushnetters out of the 3km inshore zone, and enable small-scale fishermen to increase their catch around the reefs. This encouraged community bonding between commercial and small-scale fishermen.

· A programme of mangrove reforestation was carried out in 35 villages of Phang-Nga Province. The message of mangrove conservation is promoted through highly visible signboards. Mangrove seedlings are prepared by the villagers – men, women and children. Seagrass was collected and replanted in special strategic sites where it has been denuded.

· An aggressive education campaign has been implemented throughout the Bay to discourage harvest of gravid female blue crabs. The government has also provided spawning cages for deposit of any gravid females caught inadvertently by fisherfolk. Eggs hatched are released into the sea. The spent females are then sold, the money then used to further CBFM activities.

Issues Addressed Conservation and management of fisheries resources, environmental awareness and conservation, people’s participation and civic responsibility.
Results Achieved

· Raised awareness on the importance of fisheries management in the Bay. Very few push nets are seen in the bay, following its ban.

· Increased resource health and productivity, and raised the production of shrimp and blue swimming crabs.

· Felt the presence of mantis shrimp and marine.

· Reduced social conflicts between push nets and gill net fisherfolk.

· Successfully achieved mangrove reforestation programme.

· Reduced sea ranching to promote stock enhancement. Reports from Japan indicate that the release of one million post-larvae shrimp into the sea will enable a catch of one ton of shrimp. In the past, government officials ceremoniously released post-larvae into the sea. Now, fishermen are enjoined to carry out this task, thus giving them a feeling of ownership and pride, and promoting better and more energetic participation by them in community management.

· Since 1995 conducted training courses on CBFM for fisherfolk by DOP and BOBP.

· Erected a floating pontoon in the Bay to serve as a Department of Fisheries field station. Fishermen set their nets and come to the pontoon to relax and to exchange information and views with officials on duty at the pontoon. Valuable data is collected for monitoring the status of stocks in the bay.

· The Governor of Phang Nga Bay inducts and empowers Bay fisherfolk as volunteer rangers to monitor fishing activities in the waters of the Bay.

· Encouraged systematic collection and disposal of waste is by installing rubbish bins and incinerators in the fishing villages.

· Constructed a multi-purpose community learning centre in one village. DOF and the BOBP provided some equipment to facilitate meetings, discussion, classes, games, recreation etc. This strengthens the community spirit and joint action.

· As stated by the Department of Fisheries, "the Project has made significant progress within a relatively short period of time, and has achieved a strong momentum within the communities for implementation of community-based decisions. The Bay is a valuable resource for Thailand, and its communities are an example not only for Thailand, but for coastal communities around the world that are looking for solutions to pressing resource management issues."

Lessons Learned

· The regular monthly meetings of village committees, and bimonthly inter-village meetings, ensure exchange of views, information and analysis, and follow-up action.

· Involve the target group as stakeholders. Their participation in the activity will increase and implementation will improve, giving a sense of ownership and pride.


Mr. Jate Pimoljinda, Director,
Andaman Sea Fisheries Development Centre
77 Sakdidej Road,
Phuket, Thailand 83000
Tel: (076) 391140, 391515; Fax: (076) 391139
E-mail: jpafdec@phuket.ksc.co.th

Dr. Kee-Chai Chong, Programme Coordinator
FAO Bay of Bengal Programme,
91 St. Mary’s Road, Abhiramapuram, Chennai
600 018, India
Tel. 91-44-4936294; Fax. 91-44-4936102
E-mail: bobpkcc@md2.vsnl.net.in