Dead fish not blasted out of water, department says

The colourful coral reefs provide a natural home for the Clownfish. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has dismissed a report that dead fish sighted at the Mu Ko Surin (Surin Islands) were killed by illegal fishing involving explosives.

Department chief Thanya Nethithammakul said authorities had confirmed there was no explosion or evidence of one at Richelieu Rock, which is one of the top diving sites in the country.

"We have found no trace of an explosion there," he said.

"The rock is still perfect. You can check it again with the national park chief or the director of National Park Office."

The department commented after a Facebook user shared a photo of the supposed damaged rock and dead fish around the area.

The user claimed that fish had died and Richelieu Rock sustained damage as a result of an explosion.

The Facebook post also raised concerns from conservationists, including Thon Thamrongnawasat.

He wrote on Facebook that a national park official told him there was no trace of an explosion and that the dead fish might be the result of people using illegal fishing tools.

If the site was damaged, it is a serious case, he wrote.

He wrote that if it poses a threat to the marine environment, tourism and security, urgent measures need to be taken.

He wrote that, last year, the Lo Sin Islands in Pattani and Kra Islands in Nakhon Si Thammarat were damaged by foreign fishing boats.

Nattapol Rattanaphan, chief of the marine national park division, also insisted there was no explosion, and said officials usually conduct patrols to take care of the rock as it is one of the country's most important diving sites.

The department has also arranged for guards to take care of the site throughout the night.

Previously, there was a report of an explosion killing fish not far from the diving site, which was confirmed to be an act by trawlers from a neighbouring country.

A source from the department said it was possible dead fish in the photo posted on Facebook were a kind of tuna.

Some dead fish from the catch might have been found at the site where the photo was taken, the source added.

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