Miya Hawa is a Coastal Fisherwoman in Tumbol Ko Li Bong, Amphur Jao Mai, Trang Province, Thailand.


What is the advantage of the mangrove to the fisheries community?

The mangrove has benefits of being a natural purified area and spawning ground for marine species. Fishermen use mangrove as the protecting fishing ground during the monsoon season. We rely on mangrove.

What do you think about shrimp farming? Has it destroyed many mangroves?

Many mangroves were destroyed by shrimp farming. Most of the shrimp farms located next to the mangroves have land titles only in the upper area but not in the lower area where there are mangroves. Most shrimp farms in every area take part in mangrove destruction. The discharge from shrimp farms creates degradation of the mangroves and impacts the spawning ground of marine species.

What is the benefit of shrimp farming to the economy of the community?

Shrimp farming has no benefit at all because it is so destructive. It creates some jobs, like working in the shrimp farms, but most workers are foreigners. They are mostly Mynmar people, not Thai, because they are hired at lower wages. I think the community has not gained anything from the existence of shrimp farms. Shrimp culture system uses all material from outside of the community likes drugs and feed. They use pellet feed and do not use or buy any fish from the community. They have never bought anything from the community. I think it is much better to keep mangrove than to have shrimp farming.

Do you think that consumers in USA, Europe, or Japan should know about the shrimp culture and its impact to nature?

It’s very essential that consumers have knowledge. They should know what we have to lose when they consume those shrimp. The exported shrimp sometimes contains drug or chemicals. The cost for shrimp production is very high. It is not worth it for the investment. We need to let the consumers know how much they destroy. The countries that raise shrimp are similar to the undeveloped countries. Their soil and water will be degraded. That will be a tragedy. The consumers should know about the problem.

Do you have friends living in the eastern coast? There are more shrimp farms on that coast. What do you think about the fishing on the different coasts?

I am originally from Nakorn Sri Thammarat and I visited the eastern coast such as Ranot, Songkhla, Nakorn Sri Thammarat. There are a lot of changes from that former time. When I moved to Andaman, I had a chance to go back to visit Nakorn Sri Thammarat, the area that once had a fertile mangrove. After shrimp farming expanded to Nakorn Sri Thammarat just five or six years ago, the area was changed and looks like a desert. In regards to fishing between Andaman and the eastern shore, since I am a member of the federation (Southern Fisher Folk Federation), many people claim that fishing is still fertile in Andaman Sea and the reason is because we have more mangroves.

Do you want to add anything?

I want to remind all organizations dealing with mangroves to give more attention to the mangrove. From my experience, everything that develops in the mangrove is not worthwhile, for example shrimp farming and fishing pier. We should conserve the mangrove in order to keep the way of life for the fishermen.