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Giant catfish to be hunted again
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  1. #1
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    Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Giant catfish to be hunted again
    By Theerawat Khamthita

    Chiang Rai
    Fishermen are getting poorer waiting for a promised job creation scheme that convinced them to stop catching Mekong River giant catfish. So they have decided to resume the hunt.

    Many fishermen from Hat Khrai village in Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong district say their income has plummeted since they pledged to stop catching the giant catfish, or pla buek, said Poom Boonnak, chairman of the Pla Buek Club in the village.

    Some of the affected fishermen yesterday sought district authorities' permission to catch the rare species again, he added.

    On April 18 last year, local fishermen agreed to stop catching the giant catfish after local and international conservation groups led by former Chiang Rai senator Tuenjai Deethes, now a member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), promised to come up with economic measures to help them.

    The fishermen had also agreed to sell 68 seine nets, worth about 20,000 baht each, to symbolise the end of the hunt. Last year, the conservation groups sought donations worth around 1,360,000 baht to buy the seine nets from the fishermen. They also promised to set up a fund to help the fishermen start new careers.

    Mr Poom said his group recently received 1,260,000 baht for 63 seine nets. The payment for the five remaining nets, worth 100,000 baht, has not been made, he said.

    Since the agreement was made, there have been no measures to help the affected fishermen. The job creation scheme has not yet taken off.

    Ms Tuenjai earlier promised to seek cooperation from the Livestock Development Department to provide cattle for fishermen wanting to raise cows to earn a living.

    So far not a single cow has been distributed to them, said Mr Poom.

    A close aide of Ms Tuenjai said the NLA member has tried to find ways to help the affected fishermen.

    She has sought help from other NLA members to donate money to buy cows for the fishermen.

    A source said hunting the giant catfish has been a crucial source of income for Hat Khrai fishermen for decades.

    Before they agreed to stop catching it, they normally caught the fish during April and May in the Mekong river.

    Around 60 to 70 pla buek were caught a year, each weighing around 100 to 250kg and fetching around 100 to 250 baht a kilo.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Wow!! on the fetch price. 100 to 250 baht per kilo. Normal pricing seems to run about 40 baht per kilo for the typical variety catfish. Can almost understand why they want to catch these hunkers. 100 baht at 100 k....10,000 baht. 250 kilo at an estimated 250 baht per kilo, 62,500 baht....And anywhere in between...that's 10,000 to 62,500 baht!!

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Has anyone got a photo of one of these catfish ?

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Quote Originally Posted by lenss View Post
    Wow!! on the fetch price. 100 to 250 baht per kilo. Normal pricing seems to run about 40 baht per kilo for the typical variety catfish. Can almost understand why they want to catch these hunkers. 100 baht at 100 k....10,000 baht. 250 kilo at an estimated 250 baht per kilo, 62,500 baht....And anywhere in between...that's 10,000 to 62,500 baht!!

    There are very few Plaa Beuk ปลาบึก left. Large ones were rarely being caught. AFAIK they have been declared as close to extinction, this plan to start fishing for them again may be a ploy by the fishermen to extract more money from the local authorities.

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Thanks for the picture Somerled. The catfish doesn't even look good to eat because there so big.

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    I have eaten large cat fish caught in the southern US, the bigest ones are not that great and quite grainy, same with real big sea bass, groupers and such, even lobsters that are large are the same.

    But given the chance they will fish them out and then cry because there are no more and blame it on somebody else, happens with all fisheries in the asian areas, Japan has fished out their own waters and then go and poach on other closed fisheries and try to fish them out as well.

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    Somerled, Think your right about the thai fishermen. Squeeze play. Price paid per kilo seems high. I'll guess and say the head and gut of these big fish are thirty percent of the total weight. Must be the fillet that gets the price. Anyone know what current market price is for the 1 to 3 kilo cat fish.
    Last edited by lenss; 21-04-07 at 10:39 AM.

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    The same plight for the Arapima in the Amazon Basin. Hunted close to extinctio! Years back when I took a trip out of Iquitos in Peru, the boat I travelled on had a resident one in the bilges. It was being plied with all the leftover food so that it could be sold at a handsome profit (although it could be thre still!)

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    Re: Giant catfish to be hunted again

    How did it contend with the oil and fuel that always gets into the bilges, Seems like that would kill any fish, and it is always present no matter what you do to control it, must be a damn tough fish.

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