Prachuap Khiri Khan is a coastal province located on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand. With 251 km of coastline, the province attracts many tourists, with Hua Hin being the best-known resort town. This is also the site of Marriott Hua Hin Resort and Spa, a partner of IUCN for the last three years.
The IUCN - Marriott partnership mainly focuses on mangrove conservation, sustainable seafood consumption and sustainable product procurement. By the end of 2016, Marriott Business Council would have held a meeting with IUCN to discuss a five-year strategic plan which will focus on integrated coastal management. The plan will be implemented as part of IUCN-Marriott’s partnership from 2017 to 2021.
The Marriott partnership is not the only coastal conservation project in the province. To the north of Hua Hin is a community-based crab bank operated by Had Chao Samran and Laem Pak Bia communities. The operation of crab banks is recognised as a responsible fishery management technique that aims to enhance crab resources. The project requires local crab boat operators to donate at least one ready-to-spawn female crab for the crab bank when they return with their catches.
To the south of Hua Hin, a fish habitat conservation group is based in the Baan Pak Khlong Kleaw community in the Kui Buri District of Prachuap Khiri Khan. The group was established as part of a project by local fisher volunteers who wanted to secure their seafood source in coastal fisheries zone, three nautical miles from the shoreline.
The fish home serves as a fish habitat and protects the area from encroachment by commercial fishers, thus reducing conflict between fishers working on small and large fishing boats. With the fish habitats, the local communities are also able to save money on fuel as they no longer need to travel so far for the same catch. Community ownership of the project reinforces the need for conservation in order to manage fishery resources and livelihoods.
The fish habitat, or fish home, is built based on indigenous knowledge, and made out of three main components; coconut leaf stalk (as artificial reef), bamboo (as a pole) and cement cube with tire (to anchor the structure to the sea floor to prevent the fish home from floating away). Local fishers take turns to patrol the fish home.
Fish caught by members of the fish habitat conservation group are sold at fair prices to Kon Ta-Le (Sea Men) shop. The shop is led by Mr. Piya Tedyam, president of local fisheries of Baan Tung Naoi, Kui Buri, and one of the Prachuap Khiri Khan, Provincial Fisheries Committee under the Royal Ordinance on Fisheries B.E.2558 (2015). The products from Kon Ta-Le shop are certified formalin-free, caught with legal fishing gear and legal labor. The income generated from the sale of these products is shared amongst members (12 local fishers) and supports the fish habitat conservation group in the establishment of fish homes.
Partnerships facilitated by IUCN between local conservation groups and the private sector will help ensure the sustainability of Prachuap Khiri Khan coast, and benefit local communities and the tourism sector alike.