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Phi Phi boat-free safe zones set to protect reefs from mass tourism

PHUKET: Officials with local dive and tour operators have joined together to use 1.6 kilometres of rope with 800 floats to mark off areas in the Hat Nopparat Thara - Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park to prevent tour boats from directly accessing coral reefs in the park.

tourism, environment, marine,


Tanyaluk Sakoot

Wednesday 31 August 2016, 09:11AM


The operation to install boat-free safe swimming zones was completed on Monday (Aug 29), Park Chief Sarayut Thantian told The Phuket News.

“We marked off an area with 600 metres of rope at Kai Island, and a total of 1,000 metres of rope combined to mark off areas at Phi Phi Don and Bamboo Island,” he said.

“We joined with the Krabi Driving Center, Local Diving, Poseidon Dive Center and Project Abroad to mark off the areas together,” he added.

Chief Sarayut explained that marking off the safe zones was part of a greater project to use 8,400 floats in total to protect marine sites in Phi Phi national park in honour of HM Queen Sirikit’s 84th birthday on August 12.

Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, adviser to the DNP and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, told The Phuket News, “A further 9,000 floats will be used to mark off marine sites in 13 national parks, including Hat Nopparat Thara - Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park. These will be deployed in December.

“These floats will block all boats from entering areas where coral reefs need protection. By doing so, they mark out safe zones for tourists to swim and help prevent boating accidents, and they make it easier to manage and control the volume of tourists in these areas,” he said.

However, Dr Thon said he had yet to confirm how many more floats will be used to mark off areas in the Phi Phi National Park.

The move comes as park officials struggle to protect pristine marine sites from hordes of tourists. Park officials have already closed off several tourist-popular islands, including Yoong Island near Phi Phi and Koh Tachai, so that the area can recover from environmental damage.

World-renowned Maya Bay is also under consideration for temporary closure to stave off environmental damage from mass tourism. (See story here.)

 

 

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Kurt | 01 September 2016 - 14:25:53

I feel sad for Dr Thon, adviser of DNP.
To let recuperate damaged coral reefs you need to close such areas for 50 years or more.
The low educated boat guys and majority marine police don't understand that.
Marking off areas will not block thai boat guys to go where they want in order to make money-money.
Unless, marine police boats are permanent at these areas.

Don't forget: Thai people are the nicest people in the world you can buy.

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Ed Sanders | 31 August 2016 - 23:05:41

Come on Asterix, you know any DNC or Marine Police boats would just turn into lucrative jobs where the tour/boat operators would start gouging tourists for extra money to pay off the patrol boats so everything can go on as usual.  Besides...it is almost too late in the game...most of the nice tourist areas have already been trashed and degraded.  Coral reefs take a loooong time to recover and regenerate.

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Asterix | 31 August 2016 - 12:40:29

Marking the boat-free-safety zones is good but it would be better to add DNP & Marine Police patrol boats to crack down on all law-breakers.

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