A network of fishermen’s groups, in Thailand’s southern province of Trang, has renewed its call for authorities to control the use of illegal fishing equipment more strictly, in light of the death on Thursday of baby dugong ‘Yamil’ which brought the dugong unnatural death toll this year to 17.

The fishermen’s network claimed that they had already proposed measures to protect dugongs in the seas off Trang province to the provincial fisheries committee on August 2, but there has not been any response from officials concerned.

“It is high time that serious and effective action is taken,” said a representative of the fishermen’s network, in a message intended for Trang’s provincial governor.

The network also proposed the revival of joint civilian-official patrols in waters off Trang province to monitor for the use of illegal fishing equipment by unscrupulous fishermen.

“How many more dugongs will have to be sacrificed in Thai waters?” asked the foundation on its Facebook post today.

Mr. Pinsak Suraswadi, deputy director-general of Marine and Coastal Resources Department, said that he was saddened by the deaths of Mariam and Yamil and asked for forgiveness from the public for the department’s failure to save their lives.

He said that the tragic deaths will not be in vain, but will strengthen the resolve of his department to work with the public to protect marine and coastal resources.

Marine scientist Thon Thamrongnawasawat, in his capacity as chairman of the working committee to manage endangered marine species, called on the government to set aside funding to build two veterinary hospitals, complete with modern equipment and qualified personnel, to handle sick marine animals as part of the conservation efforts.

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