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Thailand: Yacht owners shooed off from Birds' Nest Island

By Bob Mott — last modified Mar 25, 2016 12:58 PM
A timely warning to visiting yachts coming to Phuket and visiting surrounding waters of Phang Nga , Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces.

Published: 2016-03-25 00:00:00
Countries: Thailand

 

See two recent reports in the local press concerning the protection of birds' nests in Thailand.

One of a gun-carrying Thai security guard being a little over-zealous:
http://www.thephuketnews.com/armed-gunmen-business-as-usual-for-bird-nest-island-off-phuket-56705.php

And the other referring to a gun being carried for birds' nest protection without a correct license:
http://www.phuketgazette.net/phuket-news/Marine-police-arrest-boat-captain-shotgun/63515#ad-image-0

Certain companies have government franchises / leases on Thai islands for the sole purpose of collecting birds' nests. They all have guards as processed birds' nests are worth around 120,000 Baht a kilo (that is 3,400US$).

This report was sent to noonsite on 20 March, 2016:
Incident at small island just east of Koh Yao Yai in Phang Nga Bay:
We are anchored off Ko Rang Nok right now after being chased off anchor (in the above bay) by a man wielding an automatic rifle. He represents the company there, Naturalnestthailand.com, and although we were anchored 100m from shore he brandished a gun. The chief of police from Koh Yao Yai said it was OK and did nothing. We are anchored now 1km from shore - hopefully out of range.

Noted in the recent incident is Koh Rang Nok, which is located on the east coast of Koh Yao Yai - not far south from the cut between Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi. Coordinates are 08.02.349N 98.37.439S.

Yachts cruising in the waters of Phuket and surrounding waters of Phang Nga , Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces, should be aware that this practice is going on and do a little research before anchoring in what looks like a idyllic anchorage. It may not be so.

There are a multitude of islands to choose from, so avoiding a few is not a problem.

Certain times of year the guards are more active, such as when the birds are nesting. Harvesting of nests begins in March and coincidentally this is when the issues with the yacht arose.

For more background on birds nests go to this link:
http://www.thaiwaysmagazine.com/thai_article/2224_bird_nests/bird_nests.html

There is a long tradition with birds nests in Thailand, culturally as well as the financial returns, so please do your best to avoid these islands.

Written by Bob Mott (SE Asia Regional Editor) in response to recent reports to noonsite by yachts cruising in this area. At no point was anyone harmed.

 

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