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White and fighting for life, coral at Phuket's Nai Harn Bay

Phuket's Coral Reefs Fighting for Survival

Saturday, May 15, 2010
Bleached Reef Photo Album Above

WHILE many people are currently becoming passionate about the color red, white may be ultimately far more damaging to Phuket tourism and the diving industry.

East of Phuket, about 30 percent of inshore reefs are already dead from bleaching, says Niphon Phongsuwan, the coral reef specialist at the Phuket Marine Biology Centre.

The photos above from Phuket's popular Nai Harn Bay were provided by Phuketwan reader James Litorice, who says about 70 percent of the Nai Harn corals have been bleached. The bleached reefs will recover, as long as the temperature of the sea drops soon.

Every day without monsoon rains and the covering clouds that provide protection from the intense sun puts Phuket's corals further at risk.

The reefs, unable to cope, bleach white before dying. A temperature of 30.1 degrees is the tipping point. If the water stays at or above that level, the reefs may not survive.

Khun Niphon says that it will take two weeks of cooler temperatures and overcast skies to know whether the majority of Phuket reefs are going to pull through. He says the life and death issue is affecting about 90 percent of reefs throughout the Andaman Coast and in the Gulf of Thailand.

''Deeper reefs will do better,'' he said. Those on the island's east coast that have already died are in shallow waters, and more greatly exposed to intense heat.

''In some cases, bad water from hills and construction sites wiill not help,'' Khun Niphon said. ''The quality of the water is also important when the temperatures cool down.

''The better the water quality, the faster the recovery.''
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Let us us all hope that the reefs do indeed recover. We certainly have enough obstacles to overcome as it is without having our diving industry put at risk as well.

Meanwhile, I had the pleasure of meeting the photographer Alexa. A charming, artistic and refined young lady from Idaho in the USA, she and her equally charming younger sister Olivia had brought their mom with them for a beach holiday in Phuket.

Posted by Treelover on May 16, 2010 10:33

Wednesday November 29, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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