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Parks department mulls closing Maya Bay

PHUKET: The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is considering temporarily closing Maya Bay to give the world-famous beach’s ecology time to recover.

environment, natural-resources, pollution, marine, transport, weather, tourism,

Bangkok Post

Friday 28 April 2017, 09:27AM

Tourists enjoy their moment at Maya Bay of Phi Phi Island. Photo: Bangkok Post
Tourists enjoy their moment at Maya Bay of Phi Phi Island. Photo: Bangkok Post

Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation chief, Thanya Nethithammakul, said the department has considered closing the beach in the Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park for some time to restore the marine ecological system that has almost been destroyed as a result of large-scale tourism.

“We have seen the success of nature recovery after closing other tourist spots and we think the same approach could work at Maya Bay. We are looking into the possibility and a proper time to close it,” he said.

Yung Island in the same park has been closed for about two years and the recovery of natural marine resources has been dramatic.

Maya Bay became famous after the movie The Beach came out in 2000. The beach where the movie was shot, with its clear water, beautiful coral and white sands, became one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

During peak season, about 5,000 visitors – more than double its capacity – visit the beach each day, he said.

Sarayuth Tanthien, chief of the Noppharat Thara Beach-Phi Phi Islands National Park, said he has discussed the issue with tour operators and there was no objection to the closure, but the department should inform operators in advance so they can alter their tour programmes.

C and C Marine

“If possible, we will close the bay from July to September this year. That is the monsoon season and fewer tourists visit the beach. We also plan to introduce measures to control the number of visitors,” he said.

He said the beach’s coral reef has been damaged by boats, since there is nowhere to tie boats up.

Boat owners drop anchor, damaging the coral below. The department will set a side a new mooring area for boats, he added.

Last year about 1,000 local people called for Maya Bay to be closed. They also suggested the department open “Sam Hat” Beach on Phi Phi Don Island while the famous beach remained closed, Mr Sarayuth said.

Read original story here.



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Eagle | 01 May 2017 - 11:41:24

Kurt,walking in 1 foot deep water never damages any sea life!And this comes from a Padi Master Scuba Diver.LOL!Did you get your license from the internet?Never heard about that corals can live above water surface or just a few cm.below?And is a sea urchin no sea life?If stupidity would hurt,you would cry all day.

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Bigaresort | 30 April 2017 - 08:14:23

I am not an asian so let them have Maya Bay ,Ko Racha and Coral island ONLY!!they stay max. 3-4 days,and go home.
 There are many Islands for the rest of us!! Horst

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Kurt | 28 April 2017 - 19:23:34

As usual khun Eagle is swerving a bit in bitter reactions toward people , never write own comment ( as we are invited by PN).
About my comment ..'Reef walking' ( 17 March), that was about a tourist lady who walked in 1 feet deep water between stones and stepped on a sea urchin.
About that was my comment ment to wear dive shoes. ( under water shoes)
At that depth you never damage any sea life.
As a Padi Master Scuba Diver I of course never ment anything about damaging coral, etc.
That is what the thai tourist boat drivers do by dropping their anchors.
These thai don't give a damn about their underwater world around Phuket or further south of Thailand.
 Lack of knowledge, to dumb, or to ignorant. It is just money thinking.
Khun Eagle should concentrate a bit more on that if he loves his country marine life in these areas.
Not to grip back on something written by another on 17 March with the best intentions, and insinuating a reaction with purpose to burn people down in a 'Eagle way', well, looks a bit shallow too. ( without underwater shoes)

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Eagle | 28 April 2017 - 16:05:12

Although i agree that something has to be done about" Maya Bay",i find it strange that Kurt comes here with an endless finger pointing comment,after he wrote on March 17th:Reef Walking?Only with dive shoes.

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Kurt | 28 April 2017 - 12:44:36

Indeed, simon01 is right.
There should be at least a recovery time schedule as at the Similans.

One piece of writing really did strike me:
..." During peak season, about 5,000 visitors - more than double it capacity- visit the beach each day"...!!!!
Do I miss something in thinking and executiving of the thai officials?
Why the thai officials than not limit the number of visitors to 2,500 per day?
What is wrong with officials who have the responsibility to conserve this part of Thailands beauty nature?
The passiveness, except the bla bla, grins in your face.

Oh, must be the money they make on the side for allowing this 5000 per day, instead of 2500.
I hope for another excuse to read.

Then the ever going on sea floor damage by anchor dropping of boats of tour operators.
The solution is so simple. Set out floating platforms.
Allow the boats only there to moor! Forbid use of anchors.
With a infra structure of floating platforms officials also control the locations for snorkeling/diving.

The way the National Park Chief discussed matters with touroperators,.... It almost looks like he ask tour operators permission for executiving his government job.( preserving thai environment)
The tour operators seem to dictate/demand what they want for their own good ( making money).

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simon01 | 28 April 2017 - 09:42:50

This is not long enough. It should be at least the same as the Similans of 6 months open and 6 months closed. That then will be enough to repair the damage. 3 months will just slow the damage but not long enough to make it better.

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