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2000 Years can’t be all that bad

I would rather write about sitting and relaxing by a lake fishing into a beautiful evening with fish rising all around and a bite on my rod every 5 minutes (and a cold can of beer) but it’s Thai Culture we need to look at this edition.

For nearly 2000 years Thailand and the surrounding Asian countries have fished and sustained supplies of marine life in their waters. Even today we see small pockets of anglers on lakesides catching to ensure families are fed. It’s easy to think that there are sustainable supplies in all these lakes but if it wasn’t for the culture of these people then marine life would become extinct in an over demanding market place.

Inland fisheries in Thailand have long been a part of Thai culture. It is an open access resource for animal protein for the Thai rural population. Rivers and their tributaries, floodplains, lakes, swamps and reservoirs throughout the country are important for inland fisheries.

The inland catch composition includes local carp, catfish, snakehead fish, gourami, shrimp and others. Despite widespread constraints due to habitat degradation and increased pollution from industrial wastes, inland capture fisheries production has continued to increase. This is due to rehabilitation efforts and fish re-stocking programmes to augment freshwater fish resources in public waters. The draconian fishing gear commonly used for catching inland fish includes gill nets, longlines, hook-and-line, scoop nets, cast nets and lift nets.

I remember watching the cages being emptied just above the famous Ridge Pool in Ballina Co Mayo and thinking what chance was there for Atlantic salmon to escape the mass capture ? These Kings of the river had to get through drift nets at the mouth of the river Moy and fight their way past the cages to their breeding grounds. When the Dept. of Fisheries got the nets and cages banned in Ireland, tourism and visitors to the area rose dramatically, which in turn brought far more to the coffers of local businesses.

I have written before about how, in many of the lakes surrounding Chonburi the locals will say prayers and offer live fish into the ecosystem. Unfortunately there are not enough of these acts going on although they are trying…. I must say that Thailand has undertaken concrete efforts in this regard. For marine and coastal fisheries there is now management of the rehabilitation of fisheries’ resources whilst the reduction of excessive fishing and minimizing of by-catch are being implemented. Measurements introduced include banning of certain fishing gear, restricting fishing seasons and areas, increasing artificial fish spawning and nursing grounds, prohibiting destructive fishing practices, reducing excess fishing capacity, regulating mesh sizes, introducing responsible fishing operations, improving post-harvest technology and strengthening institutional legal and financial frameworks….. The issue is how do they police all these measures ? – Not well enough methinks.

On the whole it is heart-warming to see locals re-stocking off their own backs and because of Thai culture and tradition. However at some level it would be a good idea if this self-policing were to be monitored - not like some of the bars and restaurants whose culture is to put up prices when there is less business ….That kind of practice just doesn’t work

On a happier cultural note:

A woman wakes during the night to find that her husband is not in their bed. She puts on her robe and goes downstairs to look for him and finds him sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in front of him. He appears deep in thought, just staring at the wall. She watches as he wipes a tear from his eye and takes a sip of coffee.
"What's the matter, dear?" she whispers as she steps into the room, "Why are you down here at this time of night?"
“Do you remember when I met you and you were only 16?" he asks solemnly. The wife is touched to tears thinking that her husband is so caring and sensitive. "Yes, I do" she replies. The husband pauses. The words are not coming easily. "Do you remember when your father caught us in the back seat of my car?" "Yes, I remember" says the wife, lowering herself into a chair beside him. The husband continues...
"Do you remember when he shoved a shotgun in my face and said, "Either you marry my daughter, or I will send you to jail for 20 years?'" "I remember that too" she replies softly. He wipes another tear from his cheek and says...
"I would have gotten out today." !

Tight Lines Everybody and remember you can always escape by sinking a line on the lake.