Published date : May 12,2011
Coral Reefs closed due to bleaching
How many popular dive sites have been closed to diving in Thailand due to coral reef bleaching? • Only diving areas in seven marine parks have been closed to help allow the corals to restore themselves back to a healthy status • Thailand has very long coastlines [3,219 km], on both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand so there is still lots of choice for divers who want to explore the seas around Thailand. What about diving in the areas where the coral reefs are off limits? •Visitors to Thailand can still enjoy diving around the areas that remain open in Phang-Nga such as Mu Koh Surin National Marine Park and Mu Koh Similan National Marine Park •The areas that are off limits for divers include: Closed Area/National Park: Koh Chuak -Hat Chao Mai Beach National Park Bulone Mai Pai, and Bulone Rang Pheung -Mu Koh Phetra National Park Koh Taking , Koh Hing Ngam, Koh Rawi - Tarutao National Park Koh Maphrao - Mu Koh Chumphon National Park Hin Klang of Nopparat Tharam - Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park Mae Yai Bay, Mangkon Bay - Mu koh Surin National Park Fai Wap Bay and East of Eden-Mu Koh Similan National Park How long will the diving ban last? • To help the coral reefs recover from bleaching, the departments of Marine and Coastal Resources and National Parks have closed the diving sites for at least a month • The total time required depends on the assessment of the two departments to ensure the coral’s healthy restoration by leaving them alone, so divers can enjoy these coral reefs in the future Does this mean that the TAT will stop promoting Thailand as a diving destination? •Not at all - Thailand has very long coastlines [3,219 km], on both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand so there is still lots of choice for divers who want to explore the seas around Thailand •In fact, Thailand will encourage Sports Travel by inviting supermodels from Germany to shoot videos of their diving experiences in Thailand’s favorite diving sites including Phuket, Phang-Nga, Krabi, and Trang. Diving Permission and Prohibition for tourist and tour operator: Do and Don’t for scuba Diving. 1. Do not diving with the helper because the diver cannot balance themselves. Thus, the diver will step on the coral. 2. Do not taking a picture underwater. Except the dive leader who is the expert or the tour operator. 3. Do not shooting fish with the harpoon or other equipment. 4. Do Reef watching for learning the coral reef and the resuscitation of the coral bleaching. Do and Don’t for snorkeling. 1. Wearing the life jacket of you are not fully assured your diving skill. 2. Do not step on or touch the coral reef. 3. The diving boat should buoy instead of anchored. 4. The diver should float on the water surface. Beware your flipper hitting the coral. 5. Do not wave the flipper near the sea ground. 6. Do not feed the fish. Do not do a fish-trap. 7. Do not take anything from the sea. There are the punishment rules for the disobey person. Do and Don’t for fishing. Promote fishing for learning such as Tag Watching fishing for learning the growth of fish. Do and Don’t for Tour Operator. 1. Tour operators should buoy or anchored the boat in the area that the national par allowed. 2. Tour operators should set up the holding tank for keeping the waste from the boat. 3. Tour operators do not leave the waste into the sea. 4. Tour operators should train the staff about buoying the boat instead of anchoring. Also training staff about the consciousness of preserve the natural resources. 5. Tour operators should explain the tourist about the rules of the national park for diving. 6. Tour operators should clean the boat daily. Avoid using the intensive chemical for cleaning the boat. Using the cleaning product that not destroys the environment. Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket office and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources realize the coral bleaching problem. We promote the understanding of the coral bleaching. We cooperate with the tour operators to limit the tourist get into the diving area. Moreover, we provide only the diving activities which not effect to the coral reef. Especially, tour operator do not provide diving program in the ebb tide period. Avoid diving in the area is not less than 2 meters depth also. The coral bleaching affects to 30-95% of overall the coral reef in Thailand. It takes time about 5 years for recovery. If everyone realizes and preserves the coral reef together, the Andaman Sea wills recovery back soon.