Kata Rocks

Phuket Opinion: Diving in

PHUKET: It has been a long time coming, but we’re finally heading in the right direction. Maya Bay has been closed since last year to allow the marine ecosystem there to recover from heavy damage caused by tourists ploughing through the bay year after year.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 26 May 2019, 11:30AM

Foreigners give the thumbs-up during a DMCR marine conservation exercise. Photo: DMCR

Foreigners give the thumbs-up during a DMCR marine conservation exercise. Photo: DMCR

The main marine parks in the area, such as those at the Similan and Surin islands, are now closed for their annual recovery during the tourism low season, coinciding with the arrival of the southwest monsoon, which makes sea conditions dangerous anyway, and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) is calling for “Marine Rangers” to volunteer to keep watch over other coral reefs popular for tourist visits.

The corals within easy reach of Phuket have taken a battering over the years. The DMCR itself only two years ago estimated that overtourism had killed some 75% of the corals that once surrounded Koh Hei, literally called “Coral Island” in Thai, just offshore southeast of Phuket. That incredible amount of damage was done in just 10 years, DMCR officials said. (See story here.)

But now it appears that the tide is turning. The understanding that tourists will no longer come if there is nothing to see is finally sinking in.

Another huge turning point not to be underappreciated is the move by officials to include foreign expertise in helping to save corals in the region. Many Phuket dive operators for decades have helped lead the fight to preserve the stunning beauty that lies beneath our waters.

Of course there have been some Thai groups that have also led the charge – and here Go-Eco Phuket (click here) deserve special mention for their outstanding efforts – but in the early days, the number of foreigners in Phuket’s dive industry publicly reporting those fouling the seas and destroying our corals easily outnumbered the dwindling number of Thais who even wanted to work in the dive industry.

That, too, has changed.


To all those in Phuket's marine tourism industry, and particularly Phuket's dive operators, who have played a part in promoting this positive attitude towrds preserving our marine environment, take a bow. Your perserverence is paying off.

We look forward to the DMCR receiving bountiful support for the “Marine Rangers” project. That said, we also offer a word of caution for an agency that has at times been overzealous in its efforts to protect the corals.

To this we call for full transparency in all complaints levied against individuals and companies that will soon stand accused of breaking coral-protection laws, and for the right of those accused to defend themselves to be upheld.

But all this needs to be public and in the open. We can no longer have such matters privately resolved behind the tinted windows of some local government office. Those days must also sink beneath the waves.




Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters

Kurt | 27 May 2019 - 15:29:35

Sir Burr. You are right. But we have a institution called Phuket Marine Office, what excused herself of not able to do anything about water scooters on the beach sand, only in the water. Remember? Always good in telling what it not can do! This Institution should do more than nothing now to go out and protect the coral beds. Right? Specially with lesser foreign dive firms and more thai firms.

Sir Burr | 27 May 2019 - 06:11:13

It was the activities of all these diving companies that destroyed the corals in the first place.

CaptainJack69 | 26 May 2019 - 13:13:03

Here, here. But. Transpanrency from a Thai government office? Might as well ask them to stop dividing responsibility across a bewildering plethora of separate and distinct offices which don't communicate or work together in any way. Or to plan further ahead than lunch. Or to accept responsibility for errors instead of blaming those other myriad offices.

Things ARE changing, but SO SLOWLY.

Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Fast & Furious 9 to take on Phuket roads

A governor plays the trumpet about very temporarily 'backround employment' during a movie sh...(Read More)

Government discloses Senate selectors

The Junta said 'thanks' to the Senate selectors for their service to the Junta, and rewarded...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

Yeah, Bangkok Phuket has been exorbitant for years, and since Silirot was taken over by them its pri...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

Bangkok Hospital tried to charge me 2,700 baht for a 30 day supply of meds. They finally gave me the...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

now I only go the Bumrungrad, hospitals in Phuket cannot be trusted, patients are just cash cows to...(Read More)

Phuket Opinion: Bitter pill

After being given a false diagnosis for recurrent cancer based on suspect blood results, I had CT sc...(Read More)

Lottery office offers cash to nab dodgy vendors

Lottery Vendors,... the law is the law. When you have to pay yourself already 85 B for a ticket, you...(Read More)

Dengue fever epidemic declared

Finally! When Thai Government admits that there is a Dengue/Chikungunya Epidemic it is really saying...(Read More)

Police hunt for ’power cards’ agents

Were the cards not sold with illness curing guarantee? Hahaha....(Read More)

Thanathorn in Phuket hears local fishermen’s woes, critical island issues

Mr Thanatorn may also look into the matter that many thai fishing boats now sail under Myanmar Flag ...(Read More)