Phuket

Bid to regenerate coral at Maithon

PHUKET TOWN: The Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC) and the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization are to launch a 1.5-million-baht project to regenerate coral around Koh Maithon, five kilometers south-east of Phuket. Although the technique has been employed on Australia’s Great barrier Reef, this is the first time this kind of project has been attempted in Thailand. Nalinee Thongtham, a coral researcher at the PMBC, said that Maithon’s coral was mostly destroyed by a great storm in 1986. On December 24, volunteer divers will place about 600 pyramid-shaped pieces of concrete on the sea floor. They will carry another 100 pieces down on January 8, when 80 spotted sand sharks and 3,000 immature giant clams will also be released. Within two years, coral larvae are expected to regenerate in the protected atmosphere provided by the small pyramids, with almost complete rehabilitation taking about nine years. Udom Bhatiyasevi, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said that the protected environment will eventually be the kind of place tourists will enjoy visiting. He added, “There is research indicating that coral may hold the cure for cancer. So coral may return the favor to human beings one day.”

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