Connect with us

Phuket

Conflicting reports of coral damage at popular Phuket dive site

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: Many members of the Phuket diving industry stand at odds with the Phuket Marine Biological Center’s (PMBC) assessment of damage to corals at Racha Yai caused by a storm that lashed the region late last month.

“The storm that day [November 23] was not the first time corals in the area have been damaged by inclement weather,” PMBC Director Ukkrit Satapoomin told the Phuket Gazette. “Nature will soon heal them.”

Three bays were heavily affected by the storm: Ao Khon Kare, Ao Tue and Ao Lah.

Mr Ukkrit estimates that there are enough undamaged coral polyps at the bays for the corals to rejuvenate to pre-storm levels within three years.

However, many leaders in the dive industry see the damage done to the corals as a game changer.

“There is little doubt that it will have a profound effect on the industry, as this is one of the more popularly visited dive sites,” said an industry expert, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“In such a situation, it would be preferable for the authorities to close off access and allow these bays time to recover. It is now the beginning of the busiest part of the year and these sites could end up in an even worse state because of certain parties’ practices.”

The PMBC estimates that about 60 per cent of all coral at the sites was damaged. However, that estimate includes dead coral that had been destroyed previously, either by dropped anchors or coral bleaching.

“Being damaged by the waves does not mean they are all dead. Live pieces of them can still continue to grow,” said Dr Ukkrit.

However, Sea Bees dive instructor Terry Davis, who dives regularly at the site, was shocked at what he saw after the storm.

“It’s an absolutely devastated dive site; it has become a completely different dive site. A new map will be required,” he said. “It looks like a bomb has hit, not just inclement weather.”

Mr Davis noted that groups of staghorns, fragile hard corals, had completely disappeared and that large coral blocks had been broken up and moved.

Nonetheless, another member of the local dive industry, Managing Director of Andaman Ocean Safaris David Minnaar, who describes the Koh Racha sites as his “bread and butter”, wasn’t overly concerned about the level of damage.

“There is a lot of sand in the shallower corals, but once you get deeper, where people are diving, the damage isn’t so bad,” Mr Minnaar said. “It happens… there is always something going on, it’s the life of a reef – and this reef is still very much alive.”

Mr Minnaar did mention that the shipwreck on the site was shifted by the storm, but only by a few meters.

“We go there every day. If anyone was going to be worried, it would be me, and I’m not worried at all,” he added.

Mr Ukkrit from the PMBC told the Phuket Gazette that he was open to coral-rejuvenation projects to help return the site to its previous condition, but had no such projects planned at the moment.

— Chutharat Plerin

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand13 hours ago

Tourism officials eye August reopening under “Pattaya Move On” travel scheme

Thailand14 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Covid vaccine for foreigners, PM “not going anywhere”, Boss update | June 15

Best of14 hours ago

Top 8 Affordable Hotels to stay in Bangkok

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand14 hours ago

Central Bankruptcy Court approves Thai Airways debt restructuring plan

Best of14 hours ago

Top 5 secret islands and beaches in Thailand

Best of15 hours ago

5 best national parks in Phuket

Thailand15 hours ago

Australian man arrested for alleged child sex abuse in Thai border town

Best of15 hours ago

10 best fruits and vegetables in Thailand

Thailand15 hours ago

3 dead in 3 truck crash in Surat Thani

Thailand16 hours ago

Bangkok Post and Fazwaz join together to galvanise property listings platform

Bangkok16 hours ago

CCSA has yet to begin talks on lifting alcohol ban at Bangkok restaurants

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Yala enters lockdown today

Thailand17 hours ago

Thai police say they’ve gathered “strong evidence” on transnational drug trade

Phuket17 hours ago

Indonesian fisherman rescued after 9 days adrift at sea

Thailand18 hours ago

More than 100 cats rescued from owner

Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism3 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending