Fishery activities in Thailand are regulated by the Fisheries Act. The Act provides major definitions for a fish, fish product, fisheries, fishing, aquaculture, etc. With that being said, a fish under the Act is defined as “any aquatic animal normally inhabiting in waters, inundated areas, partially inhabiting in waters, having a part of its life during a water-borne life cycle, the amphibian, including their eggs and spawns, sperms, seaweed, carcasses or any part of its, and include any aquatic plant life, the residues or any part of its as specified by the Notification of the Minister.” Fish product is the product derived from aquatic animals as raw materials. Fisheries includes fishing, aquaculture, and post-harvest handling or processing; while fishing is “catching, trapping, luring, shooting, harpooning, injuring, killing, or taking aquatic animals in the fishing ground with any fishing appliance or by any method.” Finally, aquaculture is identified as “any establishment, structure or facility employed in aquaculture, culture or breeding by natural or artificial propagation or any method in any stage of its life cycle.” (Section 4)
Part 1, 2, and 3 of the Act provides administrative and executive provisions for fishery activities, such as obligations to report, request permission, etc. Part 4 provides the sections for fishery statistics - which includes notifying, collecting fishery statistics, fisheries management of the persons engaged in fishery activities. (Section 22)
Section 26 provides that it is prohibited, except for scientific purposes:
To pour, throw away, drain, or dispose of any poison as prescribed by the Minister’s Notifications;
To do any act stupefying the fish;
To pour, throw away, or drain any substance dangerous to fish into any fishing grounds; and
To cause any pollutant in any fishing grounds.
The Act also prohibits to utilize an electric current or use any explosives in the fishing grounds, except for the official purpose with written permission of the Director-General or their entrusted person; to have in possession for commercial purpose any fish which a person knows that such possession having been acquired through the commission an offence under section 26 or 27; to grow lotus, rice, jute, crops or such other aquatic plant specified by the Minister in any fishing grounds not within the land owned by a person unless written permission has been obtained from the competent official; to drain water out of or dry up or diminish waters not within the land owned by a person for the purpose of fishing unless written permission has been obtained from the competent official; to make alteration to any fishing grounds not within the land owned by a person affecting its former conditions unless written permission has been obtained from the competent official; to erect, set up or build alike, dam, weir, screen, fence, fishing nets or other fishing gears or appliances in any fishing grounds obstructing the passage of aquatic animals unless written permission has been obtained from the competent official; etc. (Sections 27-32)
As prescribed by international law, the national Fisheries Act defines certain territories of the country’s waters. For instance, the Coastal Marine Fishery Zone is the fishing area within Thailand up to 3 nautical miles from the shoreline; the Offshore Marine Fishery Zone is the fishing area that is adjacent to the Coastal Marine Fishery Zone up to the outer limits of Thailand’s waters; the Inland Fishery Zone is any fishing area which is neither in the Coastal Marine Fishery Zone or the Offshore Marine Fishery Zone. (Sections 38-41) Using fishing gears/appliances in the Inland Fishery Zone, the Coastal Marine Fishery Zone, and the Offshore Marine Fishery Zone can only be exercised with a special permit/license of the competent authority.
Chapter V of the Act lists the provisions of import and export of fish and fish products. That said, Section 57 states that “for the purpose of conservation or prevention harm to the environment or any other species or for preventing harm to the human being or the proprieties of any person or the public, the Minister shall have the power to issue the Ministerial Regulations prescribing in respect thereof any type, kind, nature, number or size of fish or fish products whose the importer or the exporter shall be granted a license or permit from the competent official.”
Chapter XI provides penalties for violating certain Sections of the Act, and penalties vary between fines or imprisonment, or both.