Responses of fishers to a 25-­year seasonal closed measure on the Andaman Coast of Thailand




Panjarat, Sampan
Bennett, Nathan

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Project IMPAACT, Marine Protected Areas Research Group, University of Victoria


To address fisheries declines and protect stocks, a Seasonal Closed Measure (SCM) was established in Phang-Nga and Krabi Bays in 1985 and later amended in 2007. Although the SCM has been in place for more than 25 years, its overall effectiveness has been questioned. Generally, fisheries policy decisions in Thailand are made in a top-down fashion by centralized government agencies. The knowledge and opinions of fishers are not taken into account in the creation of policies or the design of management measures. This practice persists despite the fact that attitudes and perceptions of fishers can indicate whether a regulatory instrument is appropriate within a particular social context and can assist with the effective implementation of the measure over the short and longer term. To address this gap, this report presents the results of a study that examined knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of fishers on the SCM. The study examined levels of knowledge, perceptions of impact, satisfaction, behaviors, and opinions regarding the SCM. An individual questionnaire survey of 100 fishers was undertaken during October-November 2010 in Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi and Trang Provinces, Thailand. The important findings of the study include the following: 1) most fishers had low knowledge on the SCM because of ineffective knowledge mobilization; 2) fishers lacked participation in most management activities because of inappropriate mechanisms for participation; 3) some fishers disagreed with the time and area of the restriction, and some of them opposed the SCM, a few fishers continued to ignore the SCM regulations, 4) fishers were dissatisfied with the performance of patrols and the enforcement of the measure, 5) fishers distrusted patrol officers and did not report violators, 6) fishers distrusted fishers from outside their communities and doubted that they would comply with the SCM, and 7) most fishers were satisfied with the SCM (74%) - however, they felt that it still requires improvement. The following recommendations are made in response to the research findings: 1) the enhancement of the standard knowledge transfer mechanisms especially through social networks and improved participation and involvement, 2) the enhancement of participation requires creation of appropriate and timely processes that incorporate awareness of the social characteristics and the nature of fisheries occupations and the holding of meetings and discussions at the local level preferably via pre-established networks or associations, 3) the re-assessment of various aspects of the SCM including the time and areas of restriction and the exempted fishing gears; the assessment method should integrate the scientific knowledge base and traditional knowledge of fishers and provide for local involvement in order to build trust and commitment, 4) the examination of the capacity and performance of patrol officers in order to ensure effective and equitable enforcement of regulations; further, the building of trust with fishers will enhance information sharing between fishers and patrols, save costs for patrolling, and resolve conflicts. 5) The establishment of appropriate mechanisms to slowdown the race-to-fish that currently occurs after closed season is also recommended. 6) Finally, the provision of capacity building and conservation knowledge, establishment of strict no-take-zones, and creation of incentives for stewardship are also recommended to sustain the SCM and marine resources in Ao Phang-Nga and on the Andaman Sea Coast of Thailand over the long term.




Panjarat, S. & Bennett, N. (2012). Responses of Fishers to a 25-year Seasonal Closed Measure on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. Report prepared for Project IMPAACT and the Marine Protected Areas Research Group, University of Victoria. 21 pages.