Representatives of state agencies meet with fishermen in Rayong to discuss the third phase of the Map Ta Phut port development, which fishermen say would threaten their livelihood. (Photo by Jumphol Nikomruk)
Fishermen in Rayong are strongly opposed to the planned expansion of the port at the Map Ta Phut industrial complex, saying dredging would cause the water to change direction and affect marine life and their livelihood.
The third phase of the Map Ta Phut project calls for the dredging of watercourses, land reclamation and construction of embankments to withstand waves. The work would affect the livelihoods of local small-scale fishermen as the area earmarked for dredging was where many of them now caught fish, said Lamom Boonyong, chairman of the Banrao fishery group.
Mana Chanthra, a representative of commercial fishing trawler operators, said that all fishermen were firmly opposed to the third phase of the port project as it would result in the loss of their fishing areas.
The two fishermen aired their views during a meeting with officials of state agencies, chaired by the Rayong governor, on Friday at the provincial hall. Local residents from several communities also attended the meeting.
Withoon Yoothim, deputy governor of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, maintained that the third-phase development was necessary to accommodate economic growth after the completion of the first and second phases at the country’s largest industrial site.
Under the third phase, about 1,000 rai behind the port would be set aside for the project, he added.