It is truly disheartening to see individuals who are meant to be stewards of our natural environment choosing to exploit and harm it instead,” said Varawut Silpa-archa, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, in response to a recent incident involving a diving instructor. “Engaging in the hunting of marine wildlife will ultimately result in the depletion of our oceans and the demise of diving as a viable profession. It is clear that this individual has failed as an instructor, as it is their duty to set a positive example for others.”
A series of photos that sparked public outrage last week were shared on the MONSOONGARBAGE THAILAND Facebook page, featuring a diving instructor from the Southern province boasting about his capture of a triggerfish.
In a post accompanying the photos, the instructor stated: “This ferocious triggerfish is renowned at Ko Ran Pet for biting several of my free dive and scuba students. After it bit my leg today, I felt compelled to ensure that there would be no further victims.” He then went on to add, “Stay tuned for an update on how I plan to cook this fish.”
The post quickly gained traction, attracting widespread criticism from netizens. On Sunday, Varawut – who is also the leader of the Chart Thai Pattana Party, which emphasizes nature conservation in its election campaign – expressed his strong disapproval of the instructor’s actions.
“It’s fortunate that the area where the incident took place is not located within a national park zone; otherwise, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment would take legal measures to ensure that this individual faces justice,” Varawut declared.
Triggerfish can be found in tropical and subtropical oceans all over the world. They possess an oval-shaped, highly compressed body and an extensive head with a small yet powerful jaw equipped with teeth designed for crushing shells, lending them a unique appearance.
Varawut shared his thoughts on the matter, stating, “While triggerfish are not classified as protected animals, they are, without a doubt, a valuable asset to our seas and should be safeguarded in order to maintain the stability of our marine ecosystems.”
In a related incident last August, Varawut collaborated with local police to locate and apprehend a Dutch national in Phuket for reportedly hunting protected fish within a national park area. The individual in question caught the attention of the authorities when he posted a TikTok video of himself holding three parrotfish, one moray eel, and two unidentified fish specimens in Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.
These incidents serve as crucial reminders of the importance of preserving and protecting our natural environment as well as the need for those in influential positions, such as diving instructors, to set a good example for others to follow.