August 31, 2007


Thailand expands shrimp farming project at lake



Fish-farming communities on Thailand's Songkhla Lake will be expanded to boost the shrimp catch, fisheries officials said.


Songkhla is the nation's largest natural lake.


There were concerns initially that the communities on the lake have been overfishing but officials insist that the fishermen in the project have been trained in sustainable farming.


So far 7,000 of the lake's 600,000 rai has been designated for sea-farming communities. (1 rai= 1,600 square metres)


More than a third of the lake is suitable for fish farming, coastal fisheries researcher Yongyut Pridalampabut said. 


The project seeks to keep villages who would otherwise be drawn to the cities to stay near the farms and get involved in fish farming, department chief Charanthada Kannasutr said. 


Several million black tiger prawns have been released by the department in the community fishing areas.


However, the department is being accused of doing little to control the number of fishing equipment littered over the lake.


Fishermen sometimes leave nets on night and day so as to catch more shrimps.

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