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.
This article, Birthday Buzzkill: Environment minister goes diving, finds illegal trap, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!