About 100 trawlers have staged a blockade of the sea channel near Lipe and Adang islands, to put pressure on the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to allow them to fish in the Tarutao National Park.
The blockade has prevented tourists from leaving the two popular islands and is also preventing tourists and other vessels from reaching Pak Bara Port.
The action follows the seizure of 27 trawlers by officials of the Tarutao National Park for illegal fishing in the park area, which is off-limits to fishing with the exception for sea gypsies, who are allowed to fish in the park area for local consumption.
Atthaphon Charoenchansa, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said that coastal fishing has been complicated by an edict from the Fisheries Department forbidding coastal fishing vessels to fish on the high seas, about five miles from the coast, which limits their fishing grounds.
Satun provincial governor and the commander of the Third Fleet of the Royal Thai Navy have stepped in to try to settle the dispute.