Connect with us


Making Phuket conservation profitable

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Most boaters and divers are sensitive about coral reef areas and try to do the right thing. However, now, with many corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects recognizing the importance of our coral reefs worldwide, a possible alliance between conservationists and businesses in Phuket could be forming to find a profit-oriented solution to the problem of boaters anchoring in coral reef areas.

The premise has two simple, but essential components: make it local and make it pay. Many successful conservation stories around the world have proven that a solution which engages the local community and benefits them financially has a much greater chance of seeing long-term success.

Driven by Safer Phuket, the alliance is growing quickly and already includes Prince of Songkla (Phuket) and Mahidol Universities (Bangkok), as well as leading businesses and marine conservation organizations. The fascinating difference between this and many other conservation efforts on the island is that it is a business-driven proposition which looks to bring a return on investment and financial benefit.

First up on the alliance’s shopping list is a mooring program to replace the current free-for-all that seemingly allows boats to anchor anywhere.

Anchor damage is a huge issue.

According to Dr Wayne Phillips of Mahidol University, “The first priority in reef conservation is to ensure that they are not being ripped up on a daily basis by anchored boats. Our research shows that this is a major issue in Thailand and needs urgent attention. In a recent survey, 71 per cent of divers reported seeing anchor damage to reefs.”

Islands in other parts of the world such as those in the Caribbean, as well as those that compose Hawaii, have banned anchoring for years with strict penalties for yacht owners who do not use mooring buoys.

Penalties in Hawaii include administrative fines of up to US$1,000 (about 32,000 baht) per specimen damaged and impose an additional criminal fine of a minimum of US$250 (about 8,000 baht) for a first offense, US$500 (16,000 baht) for a second offense, and US$1,000 for three or more offenses.

“We have been conducting a scientific research program at Koh Sak island off Pattaya for some time where there has been nine mooring buoys placed and we’re very pleased to see the improvement,” Dr Phillips explains.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) has been supporting this program in Pattaya, and they have now agreed to extend this support to other parts of Thailand.

The mooring system being used by Dr Phillips and his team is different than others in Thailand in that it uses “helix sand screws” instead of concrete blocks.

“We use the helix mooring system, which is the best available and is a proven ecological alternative to concrete blocks. In short, we drive a large screw into the sea bed, making it utterly secure and safe,” explains Gwyn Williams of Dive Tribe, who developed, built and installed the mooring buoys.

The conservation alliance is now looking to populate all of Phuket’s bays with adequate mooring buoys so that anchoring can be banned.

Boats will be charged for mooring and this will help fund the reef conservation work that the universities are doing.

The revenue from the moorings is essential for conservation, and it will also allow the alliance to operate a “quasi-franchise” system for each bay, with a member of each community being awarded a profitable business opportunity that manages, maintains and services the moorings.

— Duncan Stewart


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

World32 mins ago

China’s national anthem possibly booed in Hong Kong, police investigate

Best of41 mins ago

Patong Beach’s 10 most popular hotels

Singapore3 hours ago

Survey shows Singaporeans making travel plans as country eyes re-opening

Sponsored1 day ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

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

Thailand3 hours ago

Media banned from spreading fake/distorted news, violators could have internet cut

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

21 of yesterday’s Covid-related deaths died at home

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 shopping malls Phuket

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus Vaccines4 hours ago

11 charged for allegedly selling fake Bang Sue vaccination appointments

Koh Samui5 hours ago

Samui re-opening plans under threat as island infections rise

Thailand5 hours ago

Field hospital set up in Phuket Rajabhat University for Covid-19 patients

Coronavirus World5 hours ago

Vaccine hesitancy testing the patience of fully inoculated Americans

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 17,345 new cases and 117 deaths

Phuket13 hours ago

Domestic travel to Phuket all but banned starting August 2

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Despite Covid-19 Phuket Sandbox continues at least 2 weeks

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Chulalongkorn University progressing on domestic mRNA vaccine

Koh Samui21 hours ago

Black Club Covid-19 outbreak on Koh Samui widens

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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