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Divers carry removed coral back to the sandy spot to begin regrowth

Dive Activists One Step Behind Vandals

Friday, May 17, 2013
PHUKET: Volunteer divers this week began restoring a section of damaged coral reef as activists continued to keep the underwater vandals - a sea walking company - under scrutiny.

Repair work with a budget of 100,000 baht began on Tuesday under the supervision of marine biologist Dr Nalinee Thongtham, of the Phuket Marine Biological Centre.

She has been leading action to save the reef off Khai Nai island, where the sea walking company carved an area of 300 square metres from the corals to create a safe spot for sea walking.

Inexperienced divers using helmets and an air line are able to walk on the sand. Chinese and Korean tourists who sometimes cannot swim take advantage of the sea walking technique to venture underwater.

Contrary to reports that the sea walking vessel had been ''booted off the island,'' the sea walking vessel was spotted by the volunteers as they began repairing the reef this week.

It is believed the sea walking company will relocate around the Andaman coast as long as there is a demand for its services. Marine Police are unable to arrest those involved unless they are caught in the act.

Dr Nalinee and the volunteer team have been responsible so far for exposing the damage that the sea walking company has done and for fast-tracking coral regrowth with wire netting and stabilising metal inserts this week.

More of the precious reefs off Phuket are likely to be threatened unless authorities are able to enforce environmental laws, make arrests and impose serious penalties.

While the coral reefs remain in peril, the Khai Nai incident has shown that activists can lead the way and illustrate to the authorities what must be done on and around Phuket.

The Phuket Marine Biological Centre was awarded the Phuketwan Best of Phuket 2012 Award for Environmental Excellence in trying to save Phuket's marine life.

Comments

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As you know from my comment in a previous article I think this lady is an excellent asset for Thailand and has taken on business people who might be influenncial and has also managed to gain the support of the local government and I am pleasantly surprised at the budget she has been given. Please keep up the good work Dr Nalinee Thongtham, you shoud be proud that you are keeping the ecosystem in your country healthy.

Posted by Lost In Translation on May 17, 2013 11:10

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excellent and so diff to greenpeaces methods whom behave as bad as the people they want to stop thumbs up!
this sea walking company advertises somewhere to exist,undercover policeman books tour naval patrol boat miracuously appears,no more sea walking tours!to put ppl in deep water whom dont knows the rudiments of swimming let alone diving is about as smart as hireing motorcycles to anyone no questions asked result another fatality by misadventure.

Posted by slickmelb on May 17, 2013 18:30


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