SCG Chemicals together with fishing communities and the government sector, initiated the ‘Fish Homes from PE100 Pipes’ project in 2013. Seeing that fish homes could help to revive and return abundance of the coastal ecosystem, which would lead to more sustainable fishing stocks, the Neun Kho community in Klaeng district has been one of the many interested communities to take part in the project. Currently, 60 of the 800 fish homes in the eastern coast are located along the shoreline near the Neun Kho community.
With their strong commitment and strength, the Neun Kho community has worked with SCG Chemicals in building fish homes over the years. The community has taken good care of these homes as well as the shoreline in their area. Therefore, SCG Chemicals, the Neun Kho community and a network of allies came to an agreement that a fishery learning center should be set up as a source of conservation knowledge where visitors can learn about fishery and fish home making. The project was supported by SCG Chemicals and Marine and Coastal Resources Administration Office 1. Mr. Chatree Chuenchomsakun, Sustainable Development Director, SCG Chemicals Co., Ltd. talks about the objectives of the Neun Kho Community Fishery Learning Center as follows:
“The Neun Kho fishing community ticks all the boxes. It is strong, committed, and has a clear plan to care for what we have worked together on since 2013, namely the fish homes and crab banks. They have cared for them continuously and been involved in the entire process, from assembly and placement of the fish homes to caring for these structures after they have been placed in the sea. Because of this, Neun Kho can serve as a model that can transfer knowledge to other communities should they wish to install PE100 pipe fish homes. Neun Kho community members will go on to teach others. Apart from passing on this knowledge, it is also important to make efforts to ensure long-term income to run the learning center. Green tourism and seafood processing are just a few ways funds can be raised for the operation of the learning center and so that the community can become self-reliant. Today I’m glad to see the project we initiated has grown to where it is now. However, like I said, I’d like to keep the project expanding. It doesn’t matter whether you are a fisherman here or from elsewhere; if you think it works, you can learn about it here and bring the knowledge back to your community.”
The support from SCG Chemicals covers various aspects including staff training such as developing the staff to become local speakers transferring knowledge, establishing accountancy procedures, and encouraging groups of housewives to set up a community enterprise and create products to earn extra income to the community, etc. There has also been a setting up of a group of young guides to conduct guided tours of the exhibition. This helps to create among the local children an awareness of environmental protection and natural resource conservation. Efforts include the renovation and decoration of the building and the center as well as the public relation side of the center. This place is an ecotourism destination where interested people can seek knowledge about fishing and how to get involved in caring for the mangroves and the sea, such as through building fish homes from PE100 and learning how to grow back a mangrove forest.
“SCG Chemicals helped us turn the all-purpose pavilion into a beautiful learning center with great potential. They helped us think, protect, and push through all obstacles until finally a group has been formed from the people in the community and we have learned to manage the project systematically. Everything that we’ve done is to show that caring for our natural resources needs to be done systematically and jointly in order to make it sustainable. Apart from the exhibition, the center also offers various activities for visitors to engage in throughout the year depending on the time of year. For example, from February to May, we make fish homes and fish aggregating devices from rope and help grow the mangrove forest. We also take boats out to fish, visit sea turtle conservation center via shuttle boat to Koh Mun Nai and many other activities”, added Mr. Sam-oy Rattanavijit, chairman of the local fishery group of tambol Neun Kho, Glaeng district, Rayong province.
Not only do visitors to the center benefit from the knowledge they gain from the visit, but the people in the community also learn something as well. They learn how to work and manage a project which takes a different kind of knowledge than fishing in which they are experts. This knowledge will enable them to become truly self-reliant. And thus, Mr. Chatree Chuenchomsakun expresses a final thought:
“In addition to the fish home project helping to revive the eco system and coastal resources while enabling the fishermen to have a more stable career and higher income, the learning center allows the community to adapt and learn to be a host that welcomes visitors to their home. Doing this requires knowledge and the development of a team to receive groups of people from various backgrounds The Neun Kho community embraces this with enthusiasm and this benefits fishing communities nearby. Now that the center has been set up, it has become a tourist attraction that creates more income for the community, and it has also become a source of knowledge that motivates other communities and people interested in conservation, especially young children, to have a sense of pride in their hometown. This way, young conservationists are made who will grow up and continue to conduct worthwhile activities in the future.”
Opinions of visitors to the learning center:
Ajarn Kamnuen Wongchan, Professional Level Teacher, Chamnan Samakkhi Wittaya School
“It is my great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the learning center which is located near the school. Students who came here today had a chance to build fish homes. They have learned that factory materials such as PE pipes can help to revive the ocean. And exhibitions in the center give students knowledge about the history and the operation of this place. They also learned about and were made aware of nature preservation. Now they can go back to school and tell their friends that they have made fish homes—what they are made from and what their benefits are.”
Ms. Benjawan Bumpenthan, matthayom 4 student of Chamnan Samakkhi Wittaya School
“I like it that there is a learning center. I think visitors can learn a lot about things like how to conserve marine resources and build fish homes. Today I had a chance to make fish homes with my friends, and although at first I thought it would be hard, after a while we got better at making them. We are so proud to make fish homes and play a part in supporting fishermen in their livelihood. After we go back I think I’d like to tell all the friends at school so they will know about the fish homes and become aware of their benefits like me.”