Over the weekend, the public and private sectors joined hands to lay 69 units of artificial coral reef on the seabed of Koh Samae San, reports the Bangkok Post.
The activity was part of celebrations marking the birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on Apr 2. The event was chaired by the president of the Privy Council Gen Surayud Chulanont, who is also chairman of the Khao Yai Protection Foundation.
Speaking at the Thai Island and Sea Natural History Museum on the island, Gen Surayud said the activity was part of a plant genetics conservation project initiated by the princess on Apr 22, 1998. The project aims to promote the island as a learning and eco-tourism attraction.
The Khao Yai Protection Foundation later joined forces with the Royal Thai Navy and its partners to study and conserve the biodiversity of the island, from trees in the forest to beaches and marine life. The study helped the navy come up with measures to improve management of the marine protected area.
The princess returned to Koh Samae San on Sept 3, 1998, and planted a Samae San tree (Senna garrettiana), he said, adding the navy has also expanded the plant genetics conservation project to cover eight other islands nearby including Koh Khao and Koh Jan, which are famous for their coral reefs.
He said collaboration from all stakeholders, especially local communities, is important to conserve natural resources, adding people can help simply by not dropping garbage into the sea, including broken fishing gear.
He also thanked all participants, especially navy officers, for helping lay the artificial reefs on Saturday (Apr 22).
“This is good for marine life conservation. I also hope the island will become greener from the expansion of mangrove trees and have cleaner beaches through cooperation between locals and navy officers,” he said.
Adm Choengchai Chomchoenpaet said the navy sees the importance of natural resource conservation, especially the marine ecological system.
The project will elevate Koh Samae San to be a Marine Protected Area (MPA), linking with a marine ecological system in the eastern Gulf of Thailand. The 69 sets of artificial coral reef bars, developed by a 3D printing solution of Concrete Products and Aggregate Co (CPAC), were dropped around the eastern side of Koh Samae San over a length of 200 metres.
They will be home to marine animals and coral reefs. It is part of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), the country’s coral reef database management effort.
Akkaraset Raksalulsongsai, chairman of Talay Samae San Conservation Club, said Koh Samae San is a popular one-day trip among visitors who appreciate its clean beach and snorkelling.
Tourists have boosted incomes in the fishing community as locals offer boat trips to the island, he said. He said tourism raised about B150 million in revenue for his community a year, with over 60,000 tourists visiting a month during the high season from November to June. Locals pass on the idea to tourists to protect coral reefs while diving or snorkelling.
Be the first to comment.