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Thai Fisheries Expert Suspects Something Wrong with the Gulf of Thailand

Experts from the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC) collected bone and tissue samples in the hope of determining what caused the death of the Bryde’s whale. Photo: PMBC

 

BANGKOK – The Associate Professor Thon Thamrongnawasawat, vice dean of the fisheries faculty of Kasetsart University, said Sunday that the deaths of two Bruda whales and two whale sharks in the Gulf of Thailand within 70 days show that there is something terribly wrong with the Thai sea.

The latest casualty is a 12-metre Bruda whale weighing about two tonnes washed ashore in Village 9 of Tambon Thongchai, Bang Saphan district of Prachuab Khiri Khan.

Thorn said that this latest Bruda whale which was not an aging whale appeared to have died from unnatural cause – an indicative that there was something wrong with the sea.

Earlier, one six-month old Bruda whale was found dead on the beach of Ban Kung Tanod in Tambon Khao Daeng, Kui Buri district of Prachuab Khiri Khan.

Two whale sharks which died in the Gulf and washed ashore in the past 70 days were entangled in ropes.

Since there are an estimated 100 whale sharks and about 50 Bruda whales in the Gulf of Thailand, Thorn said the deaths of two whale sharks and two Bruda whale in just 70 days were indeed a big shock.

Water Pollution and Habitat Degradation in the Gulf of Thailand.

The Gulf of Thailand has been a major marine resource for Thai people for a long time. However, recent industrialization and community development have exerted considerable stress on the marine environments and provoked habitat degradation.

The following pollution problems in the Gulf have been prioritized and are discussed:

(1) Untreated municipal and industrial waste water are considered to be the most serious problems of the country due to limited waste water treatment facilities in the area.

(2) Eutrophication is an emerging problem in the gulf of Thailand. Fortunately, the major species of phytoplankton that have been reported as the cause of red tide phenomena were non-toxic species such as Noctiluca sp. and Trichodesmium sp.

(3) Few problems have been documented from trace metals contamination in the Gulf of Thailand and public health threat from seafood contamination does not appear to be significant yet.

(4) Petroleum hydrocarbon residue contamination is not a problem, although a few spills from small oil tankers have been recorded. A rapid decrease in mangrove forest, coral reefs, and fisheries resources due to mismanagement is also an issue… Download PDF Report

Source: Thai PBS

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