New rules drafted for Pattaya’s sea-walking tourists

Photo by Pattaya Mail.

Pattaya has drafted some new rules this week for ‘sea-walker’ tourists, a.k.a divers to protect its coral reefs. If the rules take effect, there will be codified underwater zones where divers can walk. These zones should have no coral, if possible. If it’s not possible to create entire zones with no coral, then divers won’t be allowed to come within five metres of a reef.

Another rule would be that sea-walking zones cannot be home to any animals, and cannot be areas that authorities are trying to rehabilitate. A final rule states that sea walkers should not kick up sediment while walking, which is impossible.

The process of forming these rules began last year after photos of tourists moving delicate coral in waters off Pattaya’s Koh Larn island went viral.

The director of the Marine Resources Conservation Office has noted that, if the new rules are enforced, they could completely stop people from wanting to sea-walk at all. Time will tell if officials can come up with a way to protect sea life, and still keep sea walking as an activity.

Officials have made various efforts to protect Pattaya’s sea life following damage to coral reefs. In June this year, government authorities placed 300 sets of artificial reefs around Koh Larn and Koh Sak, another island. Pattaya’s Deputy Permanent Secretary, Kiattisak Sriwongchai, said the island’s coral reef had been especially damaged by people walking in them.

After the reefs were placed, a big gang of ornamental fish and baby fish happily moved into their new home, according to Kiattisak. Hopefully, this marks a sign of good things to come for Thailand’s sea life.

SOURCE: Pattaya Mail

Pattaya News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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