Years of overfishing in Thailand take their toll, threatening a multi-billion dollar industry. The government is working hard to bring the fish back with a whole new raft of regulations. But as Eve Johnson reports there's another big culprit that they're ignoring: global warming.
Thailand's fish are disappearing - threatening a multi-billion dollar industry Years of overfishing killing off stocks in the Gulf of Thailand.... Prompting fishermen to head out to protected waters and boost their catch illegally. Bangkok is cracking down on law breakers... But environmental groups say they're just part of a far wider problem... (SOUNDBITE) (English) COD SATRUSAYANG, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "What's often under reported and not even calculated into the solutions of returning the fish population is the impact of climate change upon the Gulf of Thailand. Now, warming oceans mean that fish are disappearing because they are losing not only their habitat but their food source and they are being pushed into deeper water where they feel more comfortable." The EU has warned Thailand to clean up its fishing industry or face a ban on seafood exports. Bangkok has responded by ordering boats to register.... and banning those that don't meet a certain standard. It's also sunk dozens of illegal vessels to spur new coral growth. At stake: about seven billion dollars a year. (SOUNDBITE) (English) COD SATRUSAYANG, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "Now a significant part of this goes to the EU, around 500 to 600 million dollars every year. And if we lose that, if we lose that export quota to the EU other countries might also jump board and say hey you're not doing such a great job regulating your fishing industry, we're going to put you on probation like the EU has as well." Critics say the government has done nothing to address climate change And that new regulations are largely futile... because as long as fish are seeking colder waters... fishermen will follow them out, whether it's legal or not.