9 Oct 2023

SCGC Fish Home: Coastal Development and Conservation

Going back more than a decade ago, the local fishing community in Rayong province faced challenges with the degradation of coastal resources. The primary causes were shrimp farming and certain unethical commercial fishing practices. These factors significantly reduced the number of marine species near the shore. As a result, fishermen had to venture further into the ocean and spend more time fishing. Consequently, they caught fewer fish but incurred higher expenses due to increased fuel consumption. At times, they had to confront rough ocean conditions, which damaged their boats and fishing equipment.

Concerned about the community's issues and the marine ecosystem, SCGC collaborated with the Marine and Coastal Resources Office 1 (Rayong) and the local fishing groups of Rayong Province to address these challenges. Together, they found a solution by creating the "Fish Home" to serve as a habitat for marine life near the coast. This initiative aims at restoring the natural marine environment and repopulating marine species. Drawing inspiration from the "Waste to Value" concept in line with the principles of the circular economy, SCGC incorporated its innovations combined with local wisdom, leading to the "SCGC Fish Home" project, an innovation to support society and restore the abundance of the Thai oceans. The Fish Home is constructed from high-quality PE 100 plastic resins, leftovers from the molding testing process at SCGC's plants. PE 100 is a plastic resin used to produce large drinking water pipes, and meets international standards for being environmentally friendly. It is of high quality, resistant to sunlight, and can withstand water pressure. After several trials, modifications, and shape adjustments to suit underwater conditions, they settled on a triangular form resembling contemporary houses. The first SCGC Fish Home was installed at the mouth of the Klaeng Canal in Rayong Province in 2012. Since then, the project has consistently expanded, deploying more Fish Homes each year. Consequently, the marine ecosystem has gradually recovered, improving the livelihoods of local fishers. They can now find more fish near the shore without having to venture far into the ocean and can earn a sufficient income to support their families. It has become a haven for the local fishing community, ensuring that this profession continues for future generations and guaranteeing that Thai people have daily access to fresh seafood.

We have installed more than 2,230 Fish Homes, creating marine conservation areas spanning over 50 square kilometers. We have collaborated with 43 local fishing groups and garnered the participation of over 41,000 volunteers from across the country to assist in building SCGC Fish Homes. This initiative has not only increased income for local small-scale fishing groups, benefiting over 930 members, but also generated an annual income of more than 9 million Baht for the wider fishing community (Data from the SROI survey of the local fishing groups in Rayong Province, encompassing 10 groups in 2022). In 2018, marine scientists from Kasetsart University conducted underwater surveys in the Fish Home installation areas in Rayong Province and found various species reintroduced, including plankton, sessile animals, fish, other marine life, and plants, totaling 76 species. Another survey in 2019 found the number of species had increased to 139. The most recent survey in 2022 reported an increase in biodiversity with a count of 177 species.

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