To listen or download mini-video, go to Report for Andaman News TV11 (VHF dial) at 8.30am & local Cable TV...
To listen or download mini-video, go to Report for Andaman News TV11 (VHF dial) at 8.30am & local Cable TV channel 1 + maybe FM90.5 Radio Thailand 6pm, broadcast to Phang Nga, Krabi & Phuket provinces, & possibly FM108 Mazz Radio 7.30pm in Phuket, Monday 11 February 2008 &
Being well known for rich underworld resources, the Andaman Sea in south Thailand is a diver's dream destination but some are apparently or unavoidably harming some coral reefs. Related agencies are now working on creating artificial reefs to reduce affects on natural reefs. Our special report today takes a good look at the operation to place artificial reefs in Kata Bay.
These 150 concrete blocks were dropped into the sea near Koh Poo or Poo Island in Kata Bay off Phuket as part of the Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation Centre under the Marine and Coastal Resources Department in reviving marine resources. When over 100 concrete blocks are placed on top of one another at the sea ground, they can become new homes for marine life. To humans they are expected to become interesting new artificial coral reefs. The project is initiated to alleviate the natural resources exploitation in the Andaman region. Being famous for its spectacular diving sites, the Andaman Sea and Phang-Nga Bay which cover the ocean in Phuket, Phang-Nga and Krabi are sources of income earned from the fishing industry and tourism like diving. According to the department's data, as many as over 100 diving companies and tourist operators take their clients to different diving spots in the Andaman including Phi Phi, Koh Khai or Egg islands, Racha, Koh Poo or Poo island and other islands or bays around Phuket including Patong, Karon and Kata. These marine resources are however all affected or damaged in one way or another by various factors including over-fishing, pollution, soil erosion from land, climate change, and natural as well as human activity. The department then came up with the operation aiming to reduce the number of boats with visiting divers to the coral reefs, while the region still needs to attract tourists so the artificial reefs can create new diving spots as well. Projects with artificial reefs or using old ship or plane wrecks have been carried out successfully in Japan and many states in the US. When time passes the concrete blocks or artificial reefs are proved to be perfect homes for marine lives and favorite spots for divers which in turn help spread out divers from congested areas.
"We then expect the artificial reefs will be beneficial in the long term. We have experimented and proved that the reefs have soft corals, sea fans, and have become very fertile to be perfect diving spots in the future." - Paitoon Panchaiphum, Director, Marine & Coastal Resources Conservation Centre, Phuket. In Kata and Karon beaches attract many holiday makers, and many love to also take long tail boats out to appreciate coral reefs. That's why the local government like the Karon Municipality stepped in to support the project. Fertile oceans mean local income. The Karon Deputy Mayor Sompong Dap-petch explained that the municipality put the budgeting in support of the project in its 3 year plan. In Phuket the concrete blocks were placed in six locations, two around Racha Island, and two at BangTao bay, which began in 2005 and now two more in Kata Karon bays, while two more are to be placed near Koh Yao Yai and Shark Point in Phang-Nga Bay.