The two workshops in Thailand will be held in Pattaya and Phuket on 14 and 16 October 2013 respectively. These workshops are part of a regional initiative that includes Malaysia and Indonesia, and are funded through grants from the Asia-Pacific Network and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Dubbed the “worst coral die-off since 1998,” the mass coral bleaching events in 2010 were unprecedented and resulted in very high mortality rates to many reefs. Post-bleaching survey shows that the bleaching impact have not been uniform and differ both at regional and local scales. Management interventions were imposed and effectiveness needed to be assessed.
From data analysis carried out in 2010, it was determined that the diving industry in Thailand is estimated to bring in $US 600 million a year to the Thailand economy, and generate a further US$ 2 billion a year in non-market benefits. And the costs of bleaching in 2010 were estimated to be US$ 50-75 million for three countries.
Dr. Sean Pascoe, Dr. Heidi Schuttenberg and Dr. Scott Heron, experts from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in United States, respectively, and several local coral researchers will be sharing the results of the surveys and interviews carried out in 2010 as well as facilitating the workshops. Ecological impacts of coral bleaching as well as the socio-economic aspects of the local dive operators will be presented.
“These workshops, particularly the discussion sessions, are an important avenue to raise awareness on the coral bleaching phenomenon as well as in strengthening the interactions among stakeholders to facilitate decision-making at the local and national levels,” says Dr. Heidi Schuttenberg, the Principal Investigator, who also oversees the planning and the executing of the project in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Invited stakeholders include coral reef researchers from Universities, NGOs and dive operators in both Andaman and the Gulf of Thailand.
“Through the workshops, we hope to instill greater awareness among the stakeholders about the impacts of coral bleaching as well as to collaboratively develop sound methodologies to guide work and proper management actions during future bleaching events,” adds Pinsak Surasvadi, director at DMCR who hosts the workshop.
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