“Closing the marine national parks will not help the coral reefs recover from bleaching,” the Department’s directorgeneral Sunant Arunnopparat said.
The Marine and Coastal Resources Department prepared a report on the coral reef bleaching in the marine national parks and asked the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to close them to help their recovery.
Sunant said he had instructed officials to survey the bleached areas and report the findings to him. He will today call on all marine national park heads to meet with University academics and other experts to find out answers to the coral reef bleaching situation.
“I think there is no need to close the marine national parks to relieve the damaged coral. This measure would not help too much at this time,” Sunant said.
“We should find other measures to reduce the impact by asking people not to disrupt nature. Closing the parks would cause a lot of impact,” he added.
He said prevent tourist to enter into the bleaching areas would be proper measure to recover coral reef from bleaching.
However, some areas surrounded marine national parks where have found severe damaged coral reef by bleaching would be closed.
Marine and Coastal Resources Department yesterday also had brought a group of media to survey coral reef bleaching surrounded KohEl and KohHey in Phuket province.
Niphon Phongsuwan, a marine biologist of Phuket’s marine biology centre who head a team, said over 90 percent of coral reef surrounded KohEL were damaged by bleaching and 50 percent of coral reef surrounded by KohHey were destroyed by bleaching. Most of coral that had been damaged are staghorn coral, table coral, and branching coral which located at 5 meters to 10 meters below sea level.
The department has installed an undersea station to monitor the development and recovery of coral reefs.
During a trip to survey the coral reef bleaching at these two islands, a group of foreign tourists swimming and snorkelling around Koh Hey were seen breaking and destroying live coral.
“This bad behaviour was caused by the tour company which did not explain how to be a good tourist. They should explain how to dive in a fashion friendly to the coral reef,” Niphon said.
“We must train guides urgently,” he added.
The department will organise training for tour guides in three provinces including Krabi, Phangnga, and Phuket next month.
Paitoon Panchaibhum, a director of Marine Resources and Coastal Conservation Center Division 5 said tourists had been seen collecting coral and marine fish in baskets and taking them away as gifts for their friends. His division had installed warning signs in several languages urging tourists not take coral from the sea – but they had been ignored.
Report by: www.nationmultimedia.com