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Campaign to clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar

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Campaign to clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar | The Thaiger

A team of experienced divers from around the world have launched a campaign to clear lost and disused fishing nets, known as ghost nets, from the coral reefs in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago.

Ghost nets, or ALDFG (abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear), include fishing nets, lines and traps which are left in the ocean and become entangled in rocks and reefs, ultimately killing fish and other marine life and suffocating coral.

“In 2009, the UN estimated that 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear were littering the world’s oceans,” said Marcelo Guimaraes, a marine biologist working for Awei Pila resort, which hosted the expedition. “Most of the nets are made of nylon and will not biodegrade for the next 600 years. These are the silent killers of our ocean marine life and we must do something about it.”

From May 8–11, the team of nine divers and five surface support crew – from as far afield as Brazil, Sweden, Lithuania and Romania – set out from Awei Pila on the island of Kyun Pila in the heart of the archipelago, which is home to some 800 islands and atolls.

Within four days, the divers recovered, using scissors, some 300 kilograms of ALDFG from the surrounding reefs at depths of up to 25 meters.

The team was led by Anuar Abdullah, the founder of Ocean Quest Global, a Southeast Asia-based organization dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of coral reefs. “The importance of healthy coral reefs to their surrounding communities cannot be understated,” the group says in its mission statement. “They not only provide them with food and revenue [through fisheries and tourism], but also stave off coastal erosion, thereby safeguarding land property from damage and reducing the risk of population displacement. Coral reefs are important and unique ecosystems that are self-sustaining and provide vital support for marine life.”

The Awei Pila initiative follows closely on the heels of a similar ghost net clearance campaign in the Mergui Archipelago by the Myanmar Ocean Project. Guimaraes says plans are in place for both teams to cooperate in a joint effort to clear more fishing gear from the sea in September or October.

Awei Pila is one of a handful of resorts or hotels in the archipelago, which only in recent years opened to tourism. A member of the Yangon-based Memories Group and partnered with yachting charter firm Burma Boating, Awei Pila’s general manager Steffen Kroehl said that the goal of his resort is to create “minimum impact on a pristine environment.”

Campaign to clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar | News by The Thaiger

Campaign to clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar | News by The Thaiger Campaign to clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar | News by The Thaiger

Awei Pila is part of the Memories Group, an experience-driven company which owns and operates Memories Travel and several resorts and activities in Myanmar, including hotels, boutique lodges, hot-air balloon adventures, and sailing tours.

For bookings or inquiries click HERE.

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Environment

Bhumjaithai ministers will quit if herbicides are not banned

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Bhumjaithai ministers will quit if herbicides are not banned | The Thaiger

Lobbying is intensifying over a final decision to ban three controversial herbicides – paraquat, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. With farmers, agri-business interests, environmental activists and social media all putting pressure on decision-makers to sway their decision, the biggest pressure is from within the ruling Palang Pracharat government.

Increasing pressure is now being applied to the National Hazardous Substances Committee after the Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the Bhumjaithai party’s ministers, who oversee the use of the herbicide trio, will resign if the committee does not decide to completely ban the three toxic chemicals.

The resignation of the minority partys’ Ministers from the coalition government would force Palang Pracharat into risky minority government territory where they would lose any no-confidence motion.

Speaking at a hotel in the southern province of Phatthalung, along with six other Bhumjaithai party MPs, Mr. Anutin reaffirmed the party’s demand, in the public interest, for a complete ban on the herbicides.

He said that two representatives of the Health ministry, who sit on the NHSC, will definitely vote to ban the substances as he called on the committee for an open vote, instead of a secret ballot as it had done in the past.

According to Thai PBS World, when asked about the opinion of Mr. Chadha Thaiseth, an MP from Uthai Thani province and elder brother of Deputy Agriculture Minister Mananya Thaiseth who suggested the party’s ministers overseeing the use of the herbicides must resign if they are not banned, the deputy prime minister said they were ready to quit “if we cannot control those people.”

Mr. Anutin did not elaborate which ministers should quit, but it is understood he was referring to himself and Ms. Mananya.

The National Hazardous Substances Committee is yet to set the date for a final decision on the ban.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Bhumjaithai ministers will quit if herbicides are not banned | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul

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ASEAN

Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks

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Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | The Thaiger

PHOTO: bluestars.info

“The two marine parks are Thailand’s fifth and sixth to be given the status of ASEAN heritage parks.”

Two southern Thailand national parks have been recognised as ASEAN heritage parks at this week’s 15th ASEAN environment ministers’ meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, the home of Angkor Wat. Warawut Silpa-archa, Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, told reporters the ASEAN environment ministers voted unanimously to designate Haad Chao Mai-Koh Libong No-hunting Zone and Ang Thong marine parks as the 45th and 46th ASEAN heritage parks.

Ang Thong Marine Park, west of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, is made up of 42 islands rich in natural diversity, with a rare orchid, the Venus slipper, only available in the park. It is also the feeding ground for Bryde or Bruda whales, bottlenose dolphins and green turtles.

Haad Chao Mai-Koh Libong No-hunting Zone Marine Park, off Trang province, is rich in sea grass and corals and is the feeding ground of dugongs.

The two marine parks are Thailand’s fifth and sixth to be given the status of ASEAN heritage parks after Khao Yai National Park, Tarutao, Surin-Similan-Similan-Phang-nga Bay marine parks and the Kaeng Krachan forest complex in Kanchanaburi province.

To qualify as ASEAN heritage parks, they must meet certain criteria, such as ecological richness, natural characteristics, regional representation, high conservation importance, proper management, cross-boundary characteristics and connectivity between cultures and the ecological system and natural diversity.

Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | News by The Thaiger Two more Thai marine parks declared ASEAN heritage parks | News by The Thaiger

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Environment

5 more dead elephants located by drone at Khao Yai park waterfall

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5 more dead elephants located by drone at Khao Yai park waterfall | The Thaiger

PHOTO: One of the elephants spotted on Saturday before disappearing in the forest – AFP

Sending up the video-enabled drones at the Khao Yai National Park, north east of Bangkok, has spotted five more dead elephants. Park officials are still working out how to retrieve the bodies of six others dead elephants in the same area after a herd stumbled into a ravine over the weekend. The area where the elephants died is in Pak Phli district of Nakhon Nayok.

The five additional elephant bodies were located near the Haew Narok waterfall close to the same location where six others were found on Saturday.

The total of eleven dead elephants is one of the biggest losses to Thailand’s wild elephant population in a national park on record. Officials believe all were from the same herd. The reason the herd plunged into the ravine remains unknown although authorities speculated a younger elephant may have strayed and the older elephants were rushing to save it.

A huge net, capable of handling weights up to 40 tonne, has been erected further downstream in case the bodies are washed further down the ravine. They are trying to prevent the rotting bodies from polluting the downstream reservoir. Authorities also want to examine the beasts to try and find more clues about the incident.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

5 more dead elephants located by drone at Khao Yai park waterfall | News by The Thaiger

MAP: Google Maps

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