At the weekend, I visited Mae La Maharachanuson Park in Singburi to take part in a conservation project organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). The park was built to commemorate the 60th birthday anniversary of HM The King. The park is named after the Mae La River which flows through three districts in Singburi, namely Muang, Inburi and Bang Rachan districts.
The river has abundant natural food sources for fish, and fish caught from this river are said to be especially delicious. The most famous is the snakehead mullet, or Pla Chon in Thai. Due to its popularity, and the desire of tourists to both eat and buy it as a gift to take back home to friends, the snakehead mullet is becoming more rare these days. This is why the government dredged the waterway and built the park in order to help conserve all species.
On Sunday, Mr. Sugree Sithivanich, the executive director of the TAT Advertising and Public Relations Department, led several hundred voluntourists to release fish back into this waterway. Mr. Sugree said, “Voluntourism ranks high on the TAT priority list because it answers to the needs of new-generation tourists. With voluntourism, each trip is not just about reaching an attraction but also about making the trip meaningful. This time, we have arranged the ‘fish-release activities’ using a variety of fresh-water fish species such as the Common Snakehead, the Seven-Stripped Carp, the Common Silver Barb, and the Nile Tilapia.”
Among the several hundred participants were famous actor Tanapop Leerattanabavorn (Phai – Hormones), popular actress Nattamon Pakpuwakarn, TAT staff, and many voluntourists. The chairman of the Sing Buri Provincial Administrative Organization, the mayor of Tambon Tubya Municipality, the chairman of Tambon Mae La Administrative Organization, and the chairman of the Tambon Bang Krabeu Administrative Organization showed up to welcome the participants. The Sing Buri Research and Development Center for Freshwater Fisheries provided a total of 120,000 fish for the activities.