The fishing community of Trang Province has proposed five measures to save sea animals amid the unprecedented death rate of dugongs over the past week.
The proposals came after a baby dugong dubbed “Jamil” on Thursday night became the fourth dugong to die in a week and the 17th this year.
The first proposal is for a provincial law to ban the use of destructive fishing gear within three kilometres of the Trang coast. The law, according to the proposal, must take into account concerns of all stakeholders.
The second proposal is for a coastal patrol to eradicate destructive fishing gear, which accounts for 90% of dugong deaths.
The third calls for the creation of an inventory of destructive fishing gear and a deadline for its ban.
The fourth would allow local volunteers to join the Department of National Park’s patrol boats to monitor and help police sea animal sanctuaries, including Moo Koh Petra National Park in Satun province and Hat Chao Mai National Park in Trang province.
The fifth proposal seeks a national conservation masterplan for dugongs along with an annual national dugong event to help publicise their plight.
The death of Jamil came as a shock to marine conservationists and a public still mourning for baby dugong Marium, who succumbed to an infection last Saturday exacerbated by ingesting marine plastic waste.
The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources said Jamil, a three-month-old male dugong, had contracted a blood infection and died of septic shock at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre at 9.43pm.
Varawut Silpa-archa offered a public apology for failing to save Jamil’s life. “We are so sorry, we still don’t understand dugongs well enough,” he said yesterday in a statement.
Jamil was found washed ashore in Krabi on July 1. Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya gave the dugong its name, which means “handsome man of the sea” in the local Yawi language.
Both Jamil and Marium had been placed in the care of marine conservationists under the princess’s royal patronage.