Krabi Governor Pol Lt Col (Rtd) ML Kitibodee Pravitra explained that he was informed by local officials that a group of five to six foreigners were seen riding jet-skis at speed among protected mangroves at Koh Ka Rot, just south of Ao Luek.
The incident, which occurred last Sunday (Aug 4), was recorded on video and posted on Facebook, stirring angry outbursts online from local residents, he added. (See video here.)
Gov ML Kitibodee blasted the behaviour as irresponsible, and illegal. Under environmental laws the mangroves at Koh Ka Rot were a protected area, which meant that all jet-skis, parasail and banana boats were banned from entering the area, he said.
President of Krabi Fisheries Association Manit Dumkul explained that in the area of Khao Ka Rot is an abundant mangrove forest where marine animals come to lay eggs, hatch, and grow. Loud noises from jet-skis may shock those marine animals, so they may stop laying in the area.
Director of the Marine Department Krabi office, Lt Cdr Chaisiri Khundam, told the press that the foreigners riding the jet-skis were on a tour from Phuket.
“The jet-skis were transported by a big boat and dropped into the water when they reached the area off Koh Ka Rot,” he said.
“But the jet-skis had already left the area by the time officers had arrived,” he added.
Krabi Fisheries Association President Manit Damkul pointed out that the area the tourists arrived in the area on tours booked “in nearby provinces”.
“This makes travel operators and villagers in the area not happy because Krabi province focuses on ecotourism,” Mr Manit said.
The impact of loud, fast-moving water vessels arriving in the area would have have a vital negative impact on the local ecosystem as the mangroves provide a critical habitat for wildlife in the area.