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Fisheries are an important source of animal protein for most of Thailand’s population, particularly in provinces on or near the coast. Between 1978 and 1997 the per capita consumption of fish averaged 24 kg·capita-1 annually. In 1995, about 535 210 people were involved in the fisheries sector and 44% of these were engaged in small scale marine capture fisheries.
Although the live reef food fish trade has become an increasingly "hot" topic in the environmental press in recent months, many of the sources reporting on this practice have tended to focus on issues related to the rampant use of sodium cyanide in the trade, rather than the more pressing matter of the looming potential for overexploitation engendered by this practice.