Evolution of Fish and Shellfish Supplies Originating from Wild Fisheries in Thailand Between 1995 and 2015
Fisheries resources play a crucial role in economic development, food security, and healthy nutrition for humans. Consequently, fisheries are of paramount importance for several Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDGs 1 and 8, which are related to poverty and economic growth, as well as SDGs 2 and 3, which are about zero hunger and good health. On the other hand, fisheries can also negatively influence the ecosystem (SDG 14, life below water). Thailand is one of the world's most
... icant producers and exporters of fisheries products. This present work describes the evolution of wild fisheries production in Thailand for over twenty years and discusses its impact on fish and shellfish supplies. The present overview uses mainly the official statistical catch data of Thailand. From 1995 to 2015, Thailand's marine fisheries production gradually decreased from approximately 2.8 million tonnes to 1.3 million tonnes per year. Concerning taxonomic composition of the catches, no dramatic shifts were recorded during the 20-year period. The main observation seems that for less abundant taxa, such as Chirocentridae, Sillaginidae, Ariidae, Sharks, and Psettodidae, their part in the catch was halved between 1995 and 2015. On the other hand, inland capture fisheries remained constant at 0.2 million tonnes per year. The annual value of wild fisheries production was, on average US$1.7 billion. Notably, trawl fishing systematically reduced during these two decennia, resulting in a fishing efficiency of approximately 140 tonnes of demersal fish per trawl unit per year in 2015. During 2008–2015, the number of registered gill net fishing boats drastically increased from 2,300 to 6,600, and this has led to a dramatic decline in fishing efficiency to about 10% in 2014–2015. More in general, Thailand's continuous decline in marine capture production was linked to increased fuel prices, tightening restrictions by neighbouring countries for access into their exclusive economic zone, and the depletion of resources due to overfishing and illegal fishing. Against rising concerns about the sustainability of intensive fishing practices in recent years, Thailand is ramping up efforts to reduce the exploitation of fishery resources to levels that would achieve maximum sustainable yields. In particular, the intensity of fishing based on gill nets needs to be addressed in the future. Hence, Thailand's fisheries production faces the pressure of realising the importance of sustainable fisheries resources management and its impact on marine life and biodiversity, in addition to its role as a significant food source for a healthy population.