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Phuket divers blasted for coral damage

PHUKET: A Facebook conservation group (Go Eco Phuket) has blasted dive tour operators for damage to coral reefs at Koh Racha Yai, saying that a surge in dive tour numbers is a reason for the increasing amount of damage.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Monday 11 December 2017, 05:32PM

The photo showing what Go Eco Phuket say is a Chinese tourist sitting on the damaged coral. Photo: Go Eco Phuket / Facebook

The photo showing what Go Eco Phuket say is a Chinese tourist sitting on the damaged coral. Photo: Go Eco Phuket / Facebook

The Go-Eco Phuket Facebook page yesterday (Dec 10) posted a photo of what they said was a Chinese tourist sitting on coral reefs at Bungalow Bay, Racha Yai Island while taking a photo.

Along with the photo was the message, “Underwater network has run out of patience after trying to contact government offices to suppress tour companies on marine tourism and marine conservation issues since October.

“Under Water Police job requirement: 1. Being human, all genders, ages and races. 2. Being a diver (not necessary to work as a diver). 3. Have a high-resolution underwater camera. 4. No authority to arrest or fine anyone (only thing you can do is revealing on social media). 5. Not afraid of influential persons (this is quite difficult),” the message read.

It continued, “Benefits”: 1. No life or health insurance 2. No help from government offices 3. No salary 4. The only reward is to be proud of the nation where we live and eat. 5. Can proudly say that we were born in the reign of King Rama 9 and followed up on our Father’s teaching that he asked us to look after [the environment]. ”

Speaking to The Phuket News today, Wittaya Kunsan, Director Resources Management Division of the Phuket Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), said, “I have seen the picture where a diver is sitting on unhealthy coral, but the diver is also might be guilty of causing further damage.

“Officials have to check which company the diver is from and how much coral has been damaged. If we find that the diver is guilty, the diver will face legal action,” he said.

“We will ask for cooperation from tour operators that that they do not allow any activities which will cause damage to coral. We will have to hold a meeting with tour operators for Racha Island. We will have officials patrol tourism places and marine diving points to prevent illegal action,” Mr Wittaya added.



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