Eighteen diving sites in seven marine national parks have been closed temporarily, following the announcement by The Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation.
The announcement was made on 21 January 2011 in order to protect further damage to coral reefs in the areas affected by the coral bleaching or whitening problem. Another reason is to create a more favorable environment that allows coral colonies to recover and regenerate.
Coral bleaching is resulted from a rise in sea temperatures, which is related to global warming and chemicals used by people in their daily life. It has expanded extensively, covering more than 80 percent of the areas in the seven marine national parks. The 18 diving sites in the seven marine national parks are as follows:
1. Ko Chueak in Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park, Trang province;
2. Ko Bu Lon Mai Phai in Mu Ko Phetra Marine National Park, Satun province;
3. Ko Takiang, Ko Hin Ngam, Ko Rawi, Hat Sai Khao and Ko Dong in Tarutao Marine National Park, Satun province;
4. Ko Maphrao in Chumphon Marine National Park, Chumphon province;
5. Hin Klang in Hat Noppharatthara - Mu Ko Phi Phi Marine National Park, Krabi province;
6. Ao Mae Yai , Ao Mangkon , Ao chak , Ao Tao and Ko Torinla in Mu Ko Surin Marine National Park, Phang-nga province;
7. Ao Fai Wap and East of Eden in Mu Ko Similan Marine National Park, Phang-nga.
The closure will last six months during the monsoon season. Moreover, diving activities, docking, and anchoring are strictly prohibited. Violators will face a fine of 1,000-10,000 baht. In case of private companies, their names will be put on a blacklist.
Other marine national parks are still open for operation as usual. For more information, Please visit the website: www.dnp.go.th.