Source: Bangkok Post
Author: Apinya Wipatayotin
The Command Centre for Combating Illegal Fishing (CCCIF) has set up a panel to look into complaints accusing some officials of demanding bribes from trawler operators. Centre deputy head Vice Admiral Wannapol Glormgeao said Tuesday the centre recently received a number of complaints from anchovy trawler operators. The operators say they had to pay around 5,000 to 300,000 baht per month per trawler to some officials at the centre to allow them to send vessels of less than 30 tons on a fishing voyage.
According to the law, V Adm Wannapol said trawlers that weigh less than 30 gross tons are not required to conduct Port In-Port Out reports to authorities but should be inspected for any illegal fishing gear.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, V Adm Wannapol said the trawler operators also claimed that they were asked by officials to pay bribes in exchange for being allowed to fish at night, which is banned by the Department of Fisheries.
He said the bribery took place in Rayong, Trat, Samut Sakhon, Phetchaburi, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani provinces.
“The centre is deeply concerned about the complaints because they have tarnished the reputation of the centre and its officials,” said V Adm Wannapol, who is also deputy head of the panel.