Marine and environment officers in Phuket launched a series of counter-measures to prevent further damage by tourists and tour operators at Racha Island, south of Phuket.
The coral damage counter-measures were brought into effect after a recent spate of environmental issues at Racha Island led to a meeting of marine officials with local conservation clubs, which laid out five demands for all tour operators and divers to follow to prevent any further impact on the environment. (See story here.)
Yesterday (Jan 26), Mr Suchat Rattanarueangsri, Director of the Phuket-based office of the DMCR together with other officials placed restriction signs at Racha Island’s Batok, Siam and Teu bays.
Mr Suchat said, “The sign we have posted today are in three languages; Thai, Chinese and English. The restrictions on the signs are as follow:
1. Boats are not allowed to anchor on coral reefs.
2. People are not to walk on the coral reefs.
3. Marine life (including corals and carcasses) are not allow to taken and marine animals are not to be fed.
4. No litter or waste is to be disposed of in the sea. All garbage must be removed from the island and taken back to the mainland.
“The places where we put up the signs are the main assembly points for tourists. The guides will need to informed tourists about the restrictions again to make sure there is a clear understanding,” he said. “After finishing this job we will again speak with tour operators and guides that come to the island.
“We hope that the effort we are making will help reduce damage to our natural resources damages.
“If any person breaks these regulations they will face legal action and be punished with not more than one year in jail and fined not more than B100,000.
“We will be watching closely waht goes on at Koh Racha Yai,” he added.
A Chinese tourist was arrested on Tuesday (Jan 24) for catching baby parrotfish off Racha Yai Island.
Officials from the DMRC Phuket office, led by Mr Suchat and fellow Phuket DMRC officer Nared Choophueng, arrived at Racha Yai Island at 2pm on Tuesday after being notified that a man was catching the fish at Plab Pla Beach.
The man, Chinese national Huang Yongjia, 35, had two baby Parrotfish in a plastic bottle.
Mr Huang was brought back to Phuket and taken to Chalong Police Station, where Lt Sakkarin Sangjaroen charged him with illegally removing marine life from coral reef areas. (See story here.)