The campaign began with the installment of mooring buoys in Patong Bay on Friday (Nov 18), launched by DMCR Deputy Director General Apichai Ekwanakul.
Present for the occasion was Phuket Vice Governor Amnuay Pinsuwan joined by Ukrit Staphumin, Director of the DMCR’s Marine Resources Conservation Division, along with representatives from the Navy and heads of a host of local government agencies, including Patong Mayor Chalermsak Maneesri..
Mr Ukrit explained that Patong Bay is home to 633.42 rai of protected coral reefs. Some 20 mooring buoys were deployed to help protect those reefs from boat operators dropping anchor on them.
“The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has a duty to take care to maintain conservation and restore coral resources in areas outside the national park boundaries, especially coral reef tourist attractions in the six provinces along the Andaman Sea coast,” he said.
There are 29,125.88 rai of coral reefs along the Thai Andaman coast, Mr Ukrit said.
“The objective is to prevent the destruction of coral reefs from boats dropping anchor in the areas,” he added.
In total 418 buoys are to be installed in 33 areas to help protect the corals, Mr Ukrit added.
In Phuket alone there are 130 buoys at 11 locations, he said.
“The Patong Bay area is an important marine tourist attraction of Phuket which many tourists visit, and there are more than 100 boats that take tourists to various important places throughout the area, so these mooring buoys are needed to prevent the boats from dropping anchor [onto corals] when they take tourists to see the coral reefs,” Mr Ukrit explained.
The DMCR has been conducting its ongoing campaign to install mooring buoys to help protect coral reefs since 1992, Mr Ukrit noted.
Vice Governor Amnuay praised the campaign, saying it was much needed to help protect the natural tourist attractions around Phuket.
The DMCR conducted many campaigns to protect the natural beauty of Phuket, including projects to protect the island’s mangroves, Vice Governor Amnuay said.