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.)