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Phuket's marine environment future is mapped out in a large 'Inception Report'

Phuket's New 'Special Marine Zone' Catches Officials by Surprise

Thursday, July 29, 2010
PHUKET'S surrounding seas become a special marine environmental zone from tomorrow. The change means that various activities will be restricted or allowed in 14 newly-created categories.

For the first time, land areas on Phuket are defined because of their effect on the nearby sea, which means future property sales may be affected by the zoning.

Tourist marine activities and areas are also defined in the large, thick tome. But Phuket officials today pleaded for time to absorb the changes.

The total area covered under the new statute includes a rectangle from 22 kilometres off the high tide mark to the east and the west of Phuket, extending south to include Racha Noi.

The strategic innovations were revealed today in the large ''Inception Report'' from the Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning. The new plan has come as a surprise to local officials.

Vice Governor Tree Akaradate was taken aback today at a meeting at Provincial Hall in Phuket City with an official from the Bangkok-based Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning.

''Please give us a chance to read the document [about 200 pages] before we have to implement it,'' he asked. Among others at the meeting were the head of Phuket's Natural Resources and Environment Department, Ong-art Chanachanmongkol, the director of the Sea Conservation Office, Paithoon Panchaiyapum, the Phuket Marine Transport Chief, Phuripat Theerakulpisut.

The details of the new edicts were only handed out today.

Khun Phuripat said: ''This is a big, important issue. Phuket's future is at stake. We really need to discuss this zone by zone.''

Another official at the meeting said it would take days to digest the information because of its depth and complexity.

In the main map with this article, the red zones define protected coral reef areas, the green defines natural parks, and the blue defines water-quality protection areas.

Other areas at sea restrict damaging activities. The large shaded area off Mai Khao, Layan, Nai Yang and Nai Thon marks a natural sea park. The shading in Phang Nga Bay marks an area where the use of nets of any kind are prohibited. The shaded area around Ko Lon and Ko Aem to Phuket's south marks a marine nursery zone.

The new laws are a first for Thailand. Krabi is also gaining a new marine protection code, but with three zones compared to the 14 on Phuket.

While regulations protecting the seas around Phuket are updated every few years, enforcement continues to be inconsistent and haphazard.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


We can applaud loudly that new regulation which will be beneficial for local communities to protect public area by the sea and on shoreline.
That new tool will bend under the weight of too many greedy selfish investors (Thais and foreigners alike).

Posted by Whistle-Blower on July 29, 2010 22:27

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