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Coral reefs in danger from bread

A Bangkok-based marine expert has called for increased environmental awareness to help save coral reefs along the Andaman coast, including off Phuket.

Tuesday 24 April 2012, 04:27PM

Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University, Thorn Thamrongnawasawat, told Bangkok media last Saturday (April 14) that coral has already been severely damaged by tourism.

A minor activity, but one that has an outsized impact on coral, is giving fish bread. Mr Thorn explained how tour agencies often prepare bread for tourists to feed fish living in coral reefs.

However, only a few species can eat bread, such as the aggressive Indo-Pacific sergeant fish. In their rush to get to the bread, they chase out the smaller Butterflyfish, Clownfish and Angelfish, which normally help clean algae from coral.

QSI International School Phuket

“We have overlooked small details such as these that can have huge impact on the recovery of coral,” said Mr Thorn.

He added that damage to coral also came from waste discharged by coastal properties such as hotels and bungalows, which creates sediment that covers the surface of the coral.

“There are more factors damaging coral than factors helping in its recovery,”
said Mr Thorn.



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