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Whale spotted off Krabi coast

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Whale spotted off Krabi coast | Thaiger

PHUKET: A whale spotted near Koh Haa, off the coast of Krabi, on Monday has both excited and alarmed divers and local officials.

Both groups have cited an improving marine environment as a possible reason for the sighting, but have also warned against any actions that could hamper the Andaman Sea’s recovery in the region.

The marine mammal, thought to be a Bryde’s whale, was captured in pictures and on video by Sane Yamae, 40, a dive instructor for Scuba Diving Co Ltd.

“On Monday, I brought a group of tourists to snorkel and dive in the area. As we were passing by Koh Haa, the whale surfaced near the boat,” said Mr Sane.

“It looked to be about nine meters long. We rarely spot whales in the Andaman Sea, so everyone was surprised, but happy, to be able to see it.”

“After seeing the pictures and video, I believe the divers saw a Bryde’s whale,” said Tathpon Krajangdara, head of the Natural Resource Observing and Analyzing Team in the Andaman Sea Fisheries Research and Development Center Phuket office.

“It is strange that they saw it in the Andaman Sea, as these whales mainly live in the Gulf of Thailand. The whale could have simply lost its pod, but this could also mean that the Andaman marine environment is indeed improving.”

A Bryde’s whale spotting in January by tourists in the Surin Islands National Park off the coast of Phang Nga (story here), also raised hopes that the marine environment off the Andaman coast is improving.

Therapot Kasirawat, chairman of the Koh Lanta Tourism Association, was not as excited about the spotting, as the area where the whale was seen is in the possible path through which coal will be transferred to the hotly debated coal-fired power plant slated for Krabi province (story here).

“If the coal plant is built as planned, it will have many negative effects on the well-being of whales and other sea life in the area, as well as the tourism industry in Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Sriboya,” he said.

“However, the coal plant is still under consideration at the moment.”

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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

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