Table 3.8 Fishery loan by source for marine capture fishery households and aquaculture households, 1985 and 1995
|Sources of Loan||1985||1995|
|Marine Capture Fishery by Size of Management||Coastal||Marine Capture Fishery by Size of Management||Coastal|
|A. No debt||27,939||60.8||1,101||27.2||269||22.8||29,309||57.2||3,063||48.4||27,649||58.1||1,090||27.2||285||19.2||29,024||54.6||11,864||38.9|
|B. In debt||18,026||39.2||2,949||72.8||913||77.2||21,888||42.8||3,272||51.6||19,971||41.9||2,920||72.8||1,197||80.8||24,088||45.4||18,664||61.1|
|Total No. of loans||18,026||100.0||2,949||100.0||913||100.0||21,888||100.0||3,272||100.0||23,007||100.0||4,161||100.0||1,911||100.0||29,079||100.0||24,343||100.0|
Sources: 1) 1985 Marine Fishery Census of Thailand, p. 72–73
2) 1995 Marine Fiahery Census, Whole Country, p.30–31, p. 72–73
Notes: 1) For marine capture fishery households:
small-scale = those without boat, with unpowered boat, with inboard-powered boat or with inboard-powered boat of less than 10 GT
medium-scale = those with boat of 10–49 GT
large-scale = those with inboard-powered boat of 50 GT and over
2) The 1985 Census also includes those who did not report whether they were in debt or not. This group is therefore included in the 1985 total households
3) As establishment may report more than one source of aquaculture loan in 1995
Table 3.9 Participation in social activities by type of social activity group and size of management, 1985 and 1995
|Type of Households||1985 Social Activity Groups||1995 Social Activity Groups||% Change|
Marine capture fishery
Sources: 1) For 1985: 1985 Marine Fishery Census of Thailand, p. 132
2) For 1995: 1995 Marine Fishery Census, Whole Country, p. 94–99
Notes: 1) Small Scale = Without boat, with unpowered boat, with outboard-powered boat or with inboard-powered boat of less than 5 GT
2) Medium- to large-scale = Inboard-powered boat with over than 5 GT
3) Total percentage changes were calculated from 1985 and 1995 totals of Group A to D only
4) A= Fishery Cooperatives , B = Fishermen Group , C = Fish Farmer Group
D = Fishery Association , E = Fishing Operator's Group , F = Aquaculture Cooperatives
G = Aquaculture Association , H = Aquaculture Operator Group
5) A household may report membership in more than one fishery activitity group
The previous two chapters examined the fishermen, the fishery employees and the characteristics of their households. This chapter will examine the fishing craft and fishing gear with which they exploit marine living resources. The main sources of data are the two marine fishery censuses and the statistics on Thai fishing vessels in various years, which provide data on registered boats and gear.
Fishing craft in the censuses are classified into unpowered boats, outboard-powered boats and inboard-powered boats of various gross tonnage. Inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT are considered small-scale. Unpowered and outboard-powered boats are used in subsistence small-scale fishery, whereas inboard-powered boats of more than 10 GT are used in larger-scale, commercial fishing.
In the 1985 registration statistics, boats were classified by length (in metres), but, by 1995, they were classified by gross tonnage as well. The registered boats included both outboard-and inboard-powered boats, but the registration forms had no entry on boat type, which makes it impossible to know the proportion of each type of boat. The process of registration involves registration of the boat with the Harbour Department (Ministry of Transportation) for the navigation certificate and application for a fishing gear license from the Department of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. Among the fishing gear, trawls (both otter boards and pair trawls) and seines play an important role in commercial fishing, while gill nets (for shrimp, crab and the like), push nets and squid cast nets are the dominant gear for small-scale fishing. However, a considerable number of fishing boats that operate with gill nets, push nets, hooks and lines, traps and other equipment are not registered with the Department of Fisheries and they are unpowered and outboard-powered boats (Somsak Chullasorn, 1988, p. 76). In addition, it is believed that inboard-powered fishing boats of high gross tonnage have been both under-recorded in the census and under-registered year on year (personal communication, Ruangrai Tokrisna and Somsak Chullasorn, July 1998). Indeed, the irony is that, though the census statistics are more realistic than the registration statistics, they are collected every ten years, whereas the registration statistics are compiled annually. Another peculiarity is that fishing boats can be registered in any coastal province, regardless of the province of residence of their owners. This makes comparison of changes by province meaningless.
The next section explores the changes in fishing craft in the 1985 and 1995 marine fishery censuses, focusing more closely on the changes in unpowered and outboard-powered boats. These changes concern primarily the small-scale fisherfolk living along the coast who are engaged in catching fish within the marine coastal zone and who should be definitely more interested in integrated coastal zone management programmes than those engaged in large-scale commercial fishing.
Census-recorded fishing craft
As fishing boats have been examined quite extensively in relation to the changes in the number of fishermen and fishery employees, the findings from the censuses will be only summarized here. Countrywide, the number of fishing vessels increased by only two percent between 1985 and 1995, from 53,265 to 54,538. Both in 1985 and in 1995, Zone IV and V had the largest number (roughly 16,000–17,000 each), while each of the remaining zones had a little less than half the number in either Zone IV or Zone V (Table 2.5).
In terms of changes in number by zone, Zone V saw the highest increase, 15 percent, followed by Zone IV (four percent), whereas the other zones saw a decline. The decline was most pronounced in Zone II (-11 percent) and Zone I (-9 percent), and slight in Zone III (-3 percent).
When changes are examined by type of craft, one finds that countrywide the number of outboard-powered boats, which was a little over half of all fishing vessels in 1985, increased by 28 percent, so that by 1995 they amounted to almost 70 percent of all the boats. The increase in outboard-powered fishing boats was accompanied by a spectacular decline in unpowered boats (-65 percent) and a 10-percent decline in inboard-powered boats (Figure 4.1)
Figure 4.2 focuses on the changes in the number of unpowered boats and shows that a decline occurred in every coastal zone and that the rate of decline was highest in Zone I, followed closely by Zones III, I and V. In these four zones, the decline was very high (70–80 percent), while in Zone IV it was less than 50 percent. As the overall number of fisherfolk did not decline between the two censuses, the decline in the number of unpowered boats points to a process of modernization in which small-scale fisherfolk changed their craft from unpowered to outboard-powered ones. By 1995, there were only 2,826 unpowered fishing boats in Thailand, roughly 40 percent of which were in Zone V (Phangnga) and another 40 percent in Zone IV (Songkhla). The rest were in Zone I (about nine percent, mostly in Chanthaburi), Zone II (six percent, mostly in Samut Songkhram and Samut Sakhon), and Zone III (five percent, mostly in Chumphon). Thus, despite the decline, there were still sizeable numbers of very small-scale, subsistence fisherfolk engaged in near-shore marine capture fishery in Zone IV and V.
For the whole country, the number of outboard-powered fishing boats increased from 28,386 in 1985 to 36,430 in 1995, a 28-percent increase. Table 2.5 and Figure 4.2 show that in 1985, the largest number of them was to be found in Zone IV (Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla), and almost as many in Zone V (mostly in Phangnga), and then Zones III (Surat Thani), I (Chanthaburi) and II (Phetchaburi and Samut Prakan). In 1995, the largest number of them was in Zones V (Phangnga), with Zone IV (Songkhla) a close second. Their number in the remaining zones was not high, and the ranking in descending order was again Zones III (Surat Thani), I (Chanthaburi) and II (Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram and Samut Prakan). These data indicate that small-scale fishing activities further ashore were still prominent, particularly in Zones V and IV. There was a definite trend toward a very rapid growth in small-scale fishery using outboard-powered boats in Zone V, a moderate growth in Zones I and IV, but very slight growth in Zones III and II.
Regarding inboard-powered craft, they numbered 16,982 in 1985, but had declined to 15,282 by 1995. Table 2.5 and Figure 4.3 show that the largest number of them was to be found in Zone II, but in 1985 the provinces with the largest number were Chon Buri and Phetchaburi (about 1,100 each), whereas in 1995 they were Chon Buri and Samut Sakhon (almost 900 each), Samut Prakan and Phetchaburi (about 800 each) and Samut Songkhram (about 700). Though Zone II as a whole saw a decline of about six percent, three of its provinces saw an increase, namely Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram and Samut Prakan.
Zone I had the second largest number of inboard-powered fishing boats: 3,652 in 1985 and 2,929 in 1995. In both years, Trat had the largest number, followed by Rayong. Zone IV ranked third both in 1985 and in 1995 (3,483 and 2,841, respectively, mostly to be found in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces).
Zones III and V ranked fourth and last both in 1985 and in 1995. In Zone III, inboard-powered boats were mostly to be found in Prachuap Khiri Khan in 1985, but in Chumphon by 1995. In Zone V, the largest number was in Satun both in 1985 and 1995.
In summary, both in the 1985 and 1995 censuses, the largest numbers of inboard-powered boats were to be found in Zones II, I, IV, III and V, in descending order. The data further show that, though the number of inboard-powered craft declined between 1985 and 1995, it did so at the highest rates in Zones I and IV (almost 20 percent), at low rates in Zones II and III (less than 10 percent), and even increased by about five percent in Zone V.
The changes in unpowered, outboard-powered and inboard-powered boats indicate that though fishing activities in Zones IV and V have been dominated by small-scale operations using outboard-powered and unpowered boats, there is a trend, especially in Zone V, toward commercial operations using inboard-powered boats. Zones II, I and, to a lesser extent, IV have always engaged in commercial operations, but there is a trend toward a rapid decline in Zone I, most likely because of the growth in industries and aquaculture. The decline in the number of inboard-powered boats also occurred in Zone II, but at a slower rate. Given that the number of fisherfolk and level of aquaculture activities in that zone also declined, it means that a proportion of fisherfolk moved to the light-industry and service sectors, and the rest are commercial operators owning several inboard-powered boats each. The decline of commercial operations in Zone IV may be associated with the growth in aquaculture and tourism, as well as with the possibility that commercial-size inboard-powered boats declined in number but increased in tonnage.
So far inboard-powered boats have been compared by year and by zone only in terms of changes in number. Table 4.1 and Figure 4.4 show the number and changes in small-scale and commercial inboard-powered boats for the country as a whole. Those of less than 10 GT are classified as small-scale; those of 10 GT and over are classified as commercial. The decline in the total number of inboard-powered boats is accounted for by the decline in small-scale boats. The increase in the number of boats of 10 GT and over indicates a higher catch capacity for commercial inboard-powered boats as a whole.
Table 4.1 and Figure 4.5 show that the number of inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT declined in every coastal zone, while Figure 4.6. (derived from Table 4.1) shows that the number of commercial inboard-powered boats of more than 10 GT increased in every zone except Zone I. We have seen that areas under coastal aquaculture in Zone II increased between the two censuses. Thus it is not surprising to find that both small-scale commercial and large-scale commercial boats in Zone II declined. In Zone I, the decline in the number of small-scale commercial boats corresponds to an increase in the number of large-scale commercial boats, indicating a very rapid increase of large-scale commercial operations. In Zones III and IV, the decline in the number of small-scale commercial boats was not compensated for to the same extent by an increase in the number of boats of 10 GT and over, because of the growth of aquaculture and tourism in these two zones. Zone V seems to be the only zone with an overall growth in both small-scale and large-scale (commercial) fishing activities and in coastal aquaculture, despite the growth in tourism.
Table 4.2 and Figure 4.7 show that among commercial inboard-powered fishing boats (those of 10 GT and over), the great majority were medium-sized (10–49 GT), but that the number of large-scale vessels (of 50 GT and over) was increasing very rapidly.
Figures 4.8 and 4.9, also derived from Table 4.2, show that in Zones I and IV the number of medium-sized boats declined and that of large-scale craft increased, but less rapidly than in other zones. In Zones II, III and V, there was a small increase in medium-scale and a high increase in large-scale commercial boats. The increase of boats of 50 GT and over both in number and in rate was most impressive in Zones II and V, indicating rapid commercialization of fishing activities using boats of large gross tonnage.
Fishing boats in registration statistics
Table 4.3 shows the number of fishing boats registered from 1985 to 1995 on a yearly basis, together with the annual rate of change. The changes were very irregular from one year to the next. They ranged from 0.9 percent in 1987 to 35 percent in 1989 and showed declines of-0.3 percent in 1986 to -15.7 percent in 1991. The phenomenal increase of 35 percent in 1989 was due to an amnesty granted in an attempt to encourage registration. The success of this attempt was apparently short-lived, as the number of registrations in the following years tended to decline (Figure 4.10). A second amnesty was granted in 1997, and even though the statistics for that year are not yet published, it is of little doubt that they will show another spectacular increase in registration. This begs the question of the best way to improve registration statistics. We believe that granting an amnesty is detrimental to the ultimate aim of regulating the number and size of fishing boats. With the prospect of yet another amnesty, more fishing boats are likely to be built and operate illegally until the next amnesty. Encouraging owners of outboard-powered fishing boats to register their vessels may have to include such measures as tax exemptions, lower diesel and benzene prices, and better access to BAAC credit. For owners of inboard-powered fishing boats to register and be truthful about the gross tonnage of their vessels will be difficult, as the higher the tonnage, the higher the tax and other related costs (such as the cost of a mechanic required by law to maintain the engine, or the fees charged by fish landing piers). The number of fishing boats and their capacity influence, to a large extent, the rate of depletion of living marine resources. Therefore, they need to be studied and analysed separately, with the double aim of assessing their real number by type and size in order to regulate them, and of relating them both to fishery management and integrated coastal zone management.
Comparison of census and registration statistics on fishing boats
Table 4.4 presents the number of outboard- and inboard-powered fishing boats recorded and registered in 1985 and 1995. For the whole country, the number of boats registered was roughly one third of the number of boats listed by the censuses. The comparison by zone shows that Zone II was the only zone where the registered number came anywhere close to the census numbers both in 1985 and in 1995 (Figures 4.11 and 4.12). This is perhaps because it is the oldest fishing zone and fisherfolk there have come to see registration as an obligation. As for the other zones, there was no regular pattern. For example, in 1985, the number of registered boats in Zone IV was 35 percent of the census-recorded boats, but 22 percent only in 1995. In Zone V, the percentages were more or less the same (21 percent in 1985 and 24 percent in 1995). Could this be due to the increase in outboard-powered fishing boats in Zones IV and V? If such were the case, the number of fishing boats as a percentage of the recorded boats in both zones should be the lowest in 1985 and lower in 1995, since most outboard-powered fishing boats are to be found in these zones. This is not supported by the data and no satisfactory explanation can be offered at this point.
Table 4.5 presents data only for 1995, because the census that year classified fishing boats by type and size, which the 1985 census did not. It reveals that countrywide, registered boats represented about one third of the boats recorded in the census (Figure 4.13). Small-scale fishing boats (of less than 10 GT, including both outboard- and inboard-powered boats) were grossly under-recorded (Figure 4.14). In addition, the census under-recorded the commercial-scale boats, especially those of 50 GT and over (Figures 4.15 and 4.16). This finding supports Dr Ruangrai Tokrisna's previously noted opinion and can be explained by assuming that the larger-scale boats were out in the high seas during the census period. The implication is that in reality the level of commercialization must be greater than that revealed by the census.
The Southeast Asian Fishery Development Centre gives a guideline on the distinction between small-scale and large-scale fishing activities in terms of fishing gear (SEAFDEC, 1997). Large-scale fishery uses the following fishing gear: (1) otter board trawl, (2) pair trawl, (3) Thai purse seine, (4) Chinese purse seine, (5) luring purse seine, (6) anchovy purse seine, (7) Spanish mackerel gill net, (8) mackerel encircling gill net and (9) bamboo stake trap. Small-scale fishery uses the following gear: (1) pomfret gill net, (2) shrimp gill net, (3) other gill nets, (4) squid cast net with light, (5) cast nets, (6) acetes scoop net, (7) other scoop nets, (8) white board for catching shrimp, (9) white board for collecting shellfish, and (10) others.
This section starts with an examination of registered boats classified by fishing gear to see the type of gear used by most of the boats. Follows a comparison by coastal zone of the changes in fishing methods, using the data from the 1985 and 1995 censuses. The comparison uses data on inboard-powered boats only, because the 1985 census tabulated only the number of inboard-powered boats by fishing gear. Since the 1995 census provides data that can be used to tabulate both outboard- and inboard-powered boats by fishing gear, the last part focuses on the census data for 1995, comparing all fishing boats by type and gross tonnage in terms of fishing gear.
Fishing gear used by registered boats
Table 4.6 presents the annual statistics on registered fishing boats classified by fishing gear for the whole country from 1985 to 1995. It shows that, for large-scale fishery, the most popular fishing method is the otter board trawl: it was used by 44 percent of the boats registered in 1985 and by 37 percent of the boats registered in 1995. The second most popular fishing method is by shrimp gill net, which is used in small-scale fishery: it was used by 18 percent and 12 percent of the boats registered in 1985 and 1995, respectively. Pair trawl comes third, with eight percent and nine percent for the same years.
By 1995, the relative popularity of the various fishing gear altered somewhat. Though otter board trawl was still the most popular type by far, its use had declined by nine percent since 1985. During the same period, the use of pair trawl increased by 29 percent and that of shrimp gill net declined by 24 percent. Shrimp gill nets still ranked second in terms of popularity, but their use by registered boats had declined by almost 30 percent. Other fishing methods that rapidly became more popular over the years were squid cast nets, crab gill nets and anchovy purse seines. The use of Thai purse seines also increased, but the rate of increase was not high.
The decline in popularity of the otter board trawl and the growing popularity of the pair trawl may be due to the fact that pair trawls can be used to catch both demersal and pelagic species, whereas otter board trawls are used only for demersal fish. The decline in shrimp gill net use and the increase in crab gill net use may be due to a greater demand for crabmeat for export and the fact that the demand for shrimp for export can be met by shrimp culture. The trend toward an increase in the use of anchovy purse seines may be due to larger stocks of anchovies because of the depletion of the bigger fish that feed on them. Or else, it is due to the higher demand for anchovies, which would be met easily as they can be caught day and night.
The annual statistics show that the boats that took the most advantage of the amnesty were those using push nets: the number of registered boats using this method increased by 827 percent, from 52 in 1988 to 482 in 1989. As it is one of the most destructive fishing practices, it is no surprise that the owners would want to see its use legalized. The other two types that benefited from the amnesty were boats using otter board trawls and pair trawls. Registration of otter board trawls increased by 81 percent, from 5,776 in 1988 to 10,438 in 1989. Registration of pair trawls increased by 94 percent, from 1,132 in 1988 to 2,193 in 1989 (Figure 4.17). These are the very gear that, according to FAO recommendations, should be reduced in number (Boonlert Phasuk, 1994, p. 113). It is further noted that all these fishing methods are used in large-scale fishery, and that the registration of all boats using methods associated with small-scale fishery was not affected at all by the amnesty. The implication is that the amnesty unintentionally encouraged and legalized fishing methods that very effectively exploit the already depleting fishery resources.
Methods used by inboard-powered fishing boats according to the censuses
Since the 1985 marine fishery census tabulates fishing gear only with inboard-powered fishing boats, it is possible to gauge the change in fishing methods that took place between 1985 and 1995 only among such boats. The data presented provide information at the national and zonal levels regarding the most popular fishing methods and how their popularity changed over time. Tables 4.7 and 4.8 should be examined together, as Table 4.7 presents data on large-scale fishing gear and Table 4.8 provides data on fishing methods associated with small-scale fishing activities.
In 1985, the most popular fishing methods countrywide were, in descending order: otter board trawl, crab gill net, shrimp gill net, push net, squid cast net with light, and pair trawl. By 1995, squid cast nets with light, pair trawls and traps became more important, to the point that the ranking changed to otter board trawl, squid cast net with light, pair trawl, crab gill net, push net and trap. In both years, the use of otter board trawls was the most popular method by far. Their number was of around 6,000 in 1985 and almost 5,000 in 1995, whereas the number of the second most popular method in both years was no more than 1,500.
Among the fishing methods associated with large-scale fishing, only pair trawl, Thai purse seine and anchovy purse seine increased in use countrywide, as did squid cast net with light, and traps, for small-scale fishery (Figure 4.18).
The examination of popularity and changes in fishing methods by zone yields the following information:
Zone I: In 1985, the three methods used by most inboard-powered boats were, in ranking order, otter board trawl, crab gill net, and trap. By 1995, the ranking had changed to crab gill net and otter board trawl in roughly equal numbers, followed by trap. The methods that were not used much in 1985, but grew nonetheless, were shrimp gill net and anchovy purse seine (Figure 4.18.1).
Zone II: In 1985, the three methods most employed were otter board trawl, pair trawl, and crab gill net. By 1995, otter board trawl and pair trawl were still the most popular, followed by push net. Of these three methods, the use of otter board trawl declined by 13 percent, but that of pair trawl and push net increased by half and by 14 percent respectively. Other methods that were not in significant use in 1985, but grew over the years, were trap and anchovy purse seine (Figure 4.18.2).
Zone III: In 1985, the three most popular methods were squid cast net with light, push net and otter board trawl. By 1995, they were still the most popular, but if the use of squid cast net with light increased by 54 percent, that of push net and otter board trawl declined by almost 40 percent and 17 percent respectively. The other methods that were used increasingly over the years were trap, Thai purse seine and anchovy purse seine (Figure 4.18.3).
Zone IV: Otter board trawl, shrimp gill net and hook and line were the three most popular methods employed by inboard-powered boats in 1985. By 1995, otter board trawl was still the most popular, followed by push net, and then by crab gill net and pair trawl in roughly equal numbers. Another method that was not popular in 1985 but has been picking up is Thai purse seine (Figure 4.18.4).
Zone V: The three most popular methods in 1985 were otter board trawl, shrimp gill net and push net. By 1995, the first two maintained their ranking, but push net had been outranked by Thai purse seine. Besides Thai purse seine, the methods that showed meaningful growth by 1995 were gill nets other than shrimp and crab gill nets, and squid cast net with light (Figure 4.18.5).
In short, the most popular fishing method used by inboard-powered fishing boats in Zone I was otter board trawl in 1985, but crab gill net in 1995. In Zone II, the most popular method in 1985 was otter board trawl and pair trawl in 1995. In Zone III, the most popular method throughout was squid cast net with light, as was otter board trawl in Zone IV. In Zone V, there was a tie-in all along between otter board trawl and shrimp gill net. There was a trend toward increasing use of shrimp gill nets and anchovy purse seines in Zone I, of traps and anchovy purse seines in Zone II, of traps, anchovy purse seines and Thai purse seines in Zone III, of crab gill nets and Thai purse seines in Zone IV, and of gill nets other than shrimp and crab gill nets, as well as squid cast nets with light, in Zone V.
Methods used by all fishing boats recorded in the 1995 census
The previous section could not provide any information on the fishing methods of boats that were not inboard-powered. Table 4.9 is the result of an attempt to bridge this gap, by cross-tabulating main fishing methods and boat types and sizes for the year 1995. The table uses the census definition of small-scale and commercial fishing and provides detailed information on the type of gear used by unpowered boats, outboard-powered boats and inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT, 10–49 GT and 50 GT and over.
The data reveal that the SEAFDEC guidelines on small-scale and large-scale fishing activities roughly coincide with the census classification, with some exceptions. The use of gear by each type and size of fishing boat as recorded in the 1995 marine fishery census is summarized in the following paragraphs.
Unpowered boats: The majority of the 2 826 boats used lift nets (17.6 percent) and traps (17.1 percent), especially crab portable lift nets and crab traps. They also used shrimp gill nets (14.8 percent). The three types of fishing gear accounted for 49.5 percent of the fishing gear used by unpowered boats in 1995.
Outboard-powered boats: There were 36 430 boats in this category. They were very versatile, using several types of fishing gear. However, the majority of them used shrimp gill nets (23.3 percent), crab gill nets (15.9 percent) and traps (13 percent), especially crab traps and squid traps. Together they accounted for 52.2 percent of the fishing gear used by outboard-powered boats. Other methods used were push nets (6.7 percent), several kinds of gill nets besides shrimp and crab gill nets, such as mullet gill nets (five percent) and mackerel gill nets (four percent), as well as hook and line (4.8 percent).
Inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT: There were 6 925 boats of this category in 1995. The majority of them used three types of fishing gear: otter board trawls (19 percent), crab gill nets (15.7 percent) and shrimp gill nets (14.2 percent). Other types of gear that were quite popular were traps (12.2 percent), especially squid traps and crab traps, squid cast nets with light (9.9 percent) and push nets (5.3 percent).
A number of fishing gear were used by both outboard-and inboard-powered boats under 10 GT, such as shrimp and crab gill nets, traps (squid and crab) and push nets. The question then is whether the fisherfolk using outboard-powered boats and those using small inboard-powered boats shared their fishing grounds or competed for them. The answer must be that there was a battle and the small inboard-powered boats lost, as the previous findings were that outboard-powered boats increased in all coastal zones whereas inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT declined across all the zones. Inboard-powered fishing boats of more than 10 GT, especially those of 50 GT and over, also increased in all but Zone I. These findings indicate a process of polarization of fishing boats: coastal fishing activities tend to be dominated by outboard-powered boats and commercial fishing operations by boats of 50 GT and over. In terms of fishing gear, there seems to be a converging trend for certain gear types, as will be pointed out later.
Inboard-powered boats of 10–49 GT: There were 6 550 boats of this type, whose most popular fishing gear were otter board trawls, used by 42 percent of the boats. They also used squid cast nets (13.5 percent) and pair trawls (11.6 percent). These three types of gear accounted for about 67 percent of the gear employed by these boats.
Inboard-powered boats of 50 GT and over: There were 1 807 boats of this size in 1995 and the most popular fishing gear were otter board trawls (44.3 percent), pair trawls (29.2 percent) and Thai purse seines (11.5 percent). Together, they accounted for 85 percent of the gear employed. Other gear used were luring purse seines (3.6 percent), push nets (2.6 percent) and bonito purse seines (two percent).
As mentioned earlier, the SEAFDEC classification (based on type of gear) and the census classification (based on boat type and gross tonnage) roughly coincide. For example, trawls were used exclusively by inboard-powered boats, whereas traps were used almost exclusively by unpowered, outboard-and inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT. However, some notable exceptions are squid cast nets and bamboo stake traps. According to the SEAFDEC guideline, the former belong to small-scale and the latter to large-scale fishery. The census data reveal that the largest number of boats using squid cast nets were inboard-powered boats of 10–49 GT (totalling 883), followed by inboard-powered boats of less then 10 GT (totalling 684) and outboard-powered boats (totalling 144). The same data also show that the majority of bamboo stake traps were employed by outboard-powered fishing boats (123 out of a total of 177). This is perhaps due to the use of small traditional bamboo stake traps called mora in the southern coastal provinces. Push nets are not included in the SEAFDEC guideline, but the data show that they can be used by both outboard- and inboard-powered boats of all sizes. Thus, while there is a process of polarization of fishing boats as previously mentioned, there seems on the other hand to be a process of convergence over the use of some types of fishing gear. This may be due to increasing demand for squid leading to bigger sizes and higher efficiency for squid cast nets, and to the lesser popularity of bamboo stake traps in large-scale fishing. One methodological implication is that the SEAFDEC classification may need to be periodically revised.
There is another methodological issue worth mentioning at this point, regarding trawlers and push nets. There have been a number of ministerial regulations to limit the current number and new entry of fishing craft and gear, particularly to reduce the use of trawls and to phase out push nets. Boonlert Phasuk (1994, pp. 111–122) claims that even though a large number of fishery regulations could not be enforced effectively, there were some achievements, the most significant of which was the ability to limit entry into fishing activities. This claim is based on the decline in registration of trawlers and pushnetters. Such a decline is open to question. To reiterate, when comparing fishing boats in the census and in the registration, one finds that the registration figures as a whole are about one third those of the census and that the under-registration of outboard-powered boats is extremely high. The pushnetters registered in 1995 numbered 634, while the census put their number at 3 591, most of them outboard-powered boats (Tables 4.6 and 4.9). The registered number represents only 17 percent of the census number, indicating that pushnetters may not have declined in reality. As for the trawlers, the registration statistics are closer to the census statistics. Nonetheless, when the changes in the number of otter board trawlers and pair trawlers are considered together, one finds that between 1985 and 1995, the combined registered number declined by only 3.6 percent, from 8 186 to 7 897 (Table 4.6). Thus, it can be concluded that to assess the implementation of regulations concerning fishing boats one cannot go by registration statistics, at least until the registration system is improved to reflect reality in full, rather than one third of it.
Summary and discussion
Between the 1985 and 1995 marine fishery censuses, the number of fishing boats in Thailand increased by only two percent. Outboard-powered boats, which comprised the majority of boats, increased moderately in number, whereas the number of unpowered boats declined spectacularly and that of inboard-powered boats declined to some extent. The increasing dominance of outboard-powered boats in coastal fishing activities was most likely the result of modernization.
The comparison by coastal zone indicates that, though fishing in Zones IV and V was dominated by small-scale operations using both outboard-powered and unpowered boats, there was a trend, especially in Zone V, toward commercial operations using inboard-powered boats. Zones II, I and, to a lesser extent, Zone IV engaged in commercial operations, but there was a trend toward a rapid decline in Zone I, most likely because of the rapid growth in industries and aquaculture. A decline in the number of inboard-powered boats in Zone II also occurred, albeit at a slower rate. Because the number of fisherfolk and coastal aquaculture in Zone II also declined, the data indicate that a proportion of the fisherfolk moved out of fishing activities and into the light-industry and service sectors and the rest were commercial operators owning several inboard-powered boats each. The decline of commercial operations in Zone IV may be due to the growth in both aquaculture and tourism, as well as to the possibility that, despite their decline in number, inboard-powered fishing boats increased in tonnage.
The comparison of inboard-powered boats in terms of changes in gross tonnage revealed that a decline in their number occurred among small-scale boats (under 10 GT) in every coastal zone. The boats of more than 10 GT increased in number in every coastal zone except Zone I. Of the boats of more than 10 GT, the great majority were in the 10–49 GT bracket, but the number of large-sized boats (of 50 GT and over) was increasing very rapidly. Such an increase was particularly spectacular in Zones II and V, indicating a rapid intensification of commercial fishing activities. Considered together with the change in coastal fishing increasingly dominated by outboard-powered boats, there seemed to be a process of polarization between coastal fishing activities and deep-sea commercial fishing operations.
The number of fishing boats in the registration statistics was about one third of the number recorded in the censuses. The annual registration rates between 1985 and 1995 tended to show negative or slow positive growth, except in 1989 when an amnesty was granted. As only boats using trawls and push nets made the most use of the amnesty, we believe that there should not be any more amnesty, because it unintentionally encourages the use of fishing gear that can most effectively exploit already depleting fishery resources.
Regarding the changes in fishing gear, the registration statistics show that otter board trawl is the most popular types of fishing gear in Thailand. In both 1985 and 1995, the second and third most popular gear were shrimp gill net and pair trawl. By 1995, the relative popularity of these three types of gear had altered somewhat. Though otter board trawls were still the most popular by far, they were used by a smaller proportion of fishing boats. This was also the case for shrimp gill nets, whereas a higher proportion of fishing boats used pair trawls. Other fishing gear that became rapidly more popular over the years were long lines and squid cast nets, crab gill nets and anchovy purse seines. The use of Thai purse seines also increased, but not at a high rate.
According to the census statistics on the changes of fishing gear used by inboard-powered fishing boats in 1985 and 1995, the most popular fishing method countrywide was also by otter board trawl. In 1985, the most frequently used fishing methods were, in descending order: (1) otter board trawl, (2) crab gill net, (3) shrimp gill net, (4) push net, (5) squid cast net and (6) trap. By 1995, squid cast net, pair trawl and trap had become more important. Among the fishing methods associated with large-scale fishery, only the use of pair trawl, Thai purse seine and anchovy purse seine increased countrywide. Among those associated with small-scale fishing activities, so did squid cast net and trap.
Comparison by zone of change in the use of fishing gear by inboard-powered fishing boats revealed that there had been a change only in Zones I and II. In Zone I, the most popular method was otter board trawl in 1985, but it was crab gill net by 1995. In Zone II, the most frequently used method was otter board trawl in 1985, but it was pair trawl by 1995. In Zone III, the favourite method was squid cast net. In Zone IV, it was otter board trawl. In Zone V, otter board trawl and shrimp gill net were the most popular methods. There was a perceptible trend toward increasing use of shrimp gill nets and anchovy purse seines in Zone I, of traps and anchovy purse seines in Zone II, of traps, anchovy purse seines and Thai purse seines in Zone III, of crab gill nets and Thai purse seines in Zone IV, and of gill nets other than shrimp and crab gill nets, as well as squid cast nets, in Zone V.
The above findings from the censuses pertain to changes in the fishing methods of inboard-powered boats, as other types of boats were not classified by fishing gear in the 1985 census. To find out what fishing methods unpowered and inboard-powered boats used, the 1995 census data on fishing boats by type and size were examined in terms of fishing gear. It was found that unpowered boats mostly used lift nets and traps, especially crab portable lift nets and crab traps, but shrimp gill nets were also used. The majority of outboard-powered boats used shrimp gill nets, crab gill nets and traps, in that order. Inboard-powered boats of less than 10 GT mainly used otter board trawls, crab gill nets and shrimp gill nets, in descending order of importance. Inboard-powered boats of 10–49 GT mostly used otter board trawls, squid cast nets and pair trawls, while those of 50 GT and over mostly used otter board trawls, pair trawls and Thai purse seines.
It was found that the SEAFDEC guideline for small-scale and large-scale fishing activities (based on fishing gear) and the census classification (based on boat type and size) roughly coincided. However, some discrepancies were noted regarding squid cast nets and bamboo stake traps. These may be due to increasing demand for squid resulting in improvements in the size and efficiency of squid cast nets and to the declining popularity of bamboo stake traps among large-scale fishing operations. The methodological implication is that the SEAFDEC classification may need to be periodically revised to keep up with the changes in size and efficiency of fishing gear.
Another methodological issue raised was the validity of assessing the implementation of regulations by using the registration statistics on fishing gear. Two findings from this chapter were that the registration statistics were about one third of the census statistics and that small-scale fishing boats (outboard- and inboard-powered of less than 10 GT) were grossly under-registered. Thus, an evaluation based on registration statistics claiming that the number of trawlers and pushnetters is under control may be misleading. Until registration statistics are improved to more closely reflect the reality, they should not be used for any kind of assessment of policy implementation.
Registration statistics on fishing boats and gear need to be improved forthwith, for the important reason that an accurate database updated annually is needed for planning marine capture operations. In addition, in any coastal zone management programme, information on small-scale coastal fisherfolk is needed, as they will be the main partners in the programme. However, the registration data, as we have found, grossly under-records outboard-powered boats, the type of boat which is used mostly and increasingly in coastal fishing activities.
The present study has focused on the changes in population and coastal resources, in the number of fishermen, fishery employees and their households, as well as in fishing craft and gear. It has given the background for and overall profile of changes in the fishery sector of the economy between 1985 and 1995. All along, small-scale fisherfolk were part of the picture and the changes affecting them in various ways were revealed in comparison with large-scale commercial operators. Although it cannot be denied that the study has provided a wealth of useful information, the findings on the various changes do not add up to a full picture of small-scale fisherfolk. Given that the latter are to be the main partners in any kind of coastal zone management programme, a field study of fishing communities is required to focus on them. Such a field study will be able to piece together the various aspects of changes previously examined separately in the above study.