Those who are particular with their produce look for fresh-looking and formalin-free seafood at high-end supermarkets. Many customers, however, overlook how the fish were caught. “It would be great if consumers are aware of how the fish they buy were caught as much as how clean and safe [from chemicals] they are,” says Piya Thedyam, a local fisherman who founded Khon Talay, a social enterprise whose purpose is to promote ethical fishing, which includes using proper tools and fishing only in designated areas.
Khon Talay buys responsibly caught seafood from local fishermen (who are tracked with GPS to make sure they’re not out of the designated zones) at 10 to 15 percent more than normal middleman prices, and resells these to a number of restaurants such as The Never Ending Summer and 80/20, and at the K Village Farmers’ Market at fair prices. Ten percent of Khon Talay’s profits also go to fund Piya’s own blue crab and fish hatchery project in Prachuab Khirikhan.
Another movement that supports responsible fishing in Thailand is Small-Scale Fishers and Organic Fisheries Product, casually known as Pla Organic. Formed by activist Supaporn Anuchiracheeva, the group takes the lead in promoting responsible fishing in provinces such as Phang Nga, Krabi, Songkla, Petchaburi, Satun, Patalung and Pattani.
Pla Organic shares profits with fishermen at the ratio of 30:70, which is said to be higher than the middleman system. All seafood products from Pla Organic are certified chemical-free by the Organic Agriculture Certification Thailand, and labeled with a barcode that allows you to track where the food is originally from.
Get your hands on Pla Organic products at Bangkok Farmers’ Market on the second and last Saturday of each month at Gateway Ekkamai, and the last Sunday of each month at Soi Nakniwat 30. Pla Organic also supplies the the kitchens of restaurants such as Erawan Tea Room, Nahm, Bolan, Le Du, Quince, Vesper, Kika, Bunker, and the newly-opened Saawaan.
Kon Tha Lay, 08 7340 5070, 08 5237 0806
Pla Organic, 141 Ladprao Soi 48, yak 5-1, Suthisan Road, 0 2277 9654, 09 004 2401. www.facebook.com/pla.organic