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Artificial reef sunk off Tri Trang Beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Concrete structures to create an artificial reef were lowered into the sea off Tri Trang Beach on Friday as part of a sustainable tourism initiative backed with private funding.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources placed more than 120 cement cubes and cones on two rai of seabed to become homes for marine life and attract divers to the area.

Emerald Bay Co Ltd and Emerald Resort and Spa, both private companies, provided the funds for the 1.2-million-baht Tri Trang artificial reef system, just south of Patong Beach.

“We hope that in the next five years we will see natural coral colonies establishing themselves,” said Paitoon Panchaiphoom of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) Region 5.

“There are companies that are happy to help develop our natural resources as part of establishing sustainable tourism, as they have a long-term view of what needs to be done to secure their financial future.”

Tri Trang Beach used to support a vibrant coral reef system that attracted tourists and was a source of income for local people, Mr Paitoon explained.

“Now, almost the entire reef has disappeared, either from natural causes, such as the tsunami and coral bleaching, or from man-made issues, such as construction site runoff and untreated wastewater,” said Mr Paitoon.

This month, Patong operators voiced their concerns about untreated wastewater possibly seeping into the bay after a one-kilometer swath of beachfront water turned brown (story here).

“We are constantly following through on projects to help protect and develop our marine ecosystem. A number of private companies over the years have provided the necessary funds for underwater trash collection, mooring buoys and artificial reefs,” Mr Paitoon said.

Last year, 150 cubes were placed on about one rai of seabed off Tri Trang Beach. That same year, the artificial reef system off Koh Racha was expanded (story here). The project initially began in 2006 (story here) and has received several extensions over the years.

— Kongleaphy Keam


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