Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

10 Popular Dive Sites Closed in Thailand Due to Coral Bleaching Crisis

Climate
10 Popular Dive Sites Closed in Thailand Due to Coral Bleaching Crisis

Some of Thailand's most prized dive sites have been closed indefinitely after the Department of National Parks' survey found coral bleaching on 80 percent of some of the reefs.

This is a bold move for a country where tourism accounts for 10 percent of its economy—and where officials were hoping to attract 32 million tourists this year, The Guardian reported. But then again, it sends the message Thailand officials want: Ignorant tourism is killing the reefs.

A turtle swimming over bleached coral in February at Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit: The University of Queensland

“The coral reefs are affected by unaware tourists–when they go diving they may touch or step on the reef. Closing those spots will help the reefs recover naturally," Reungsak Theekasuk, national park officer director, told AFP.

The closed diving sites are off beaches from Rayong province in the east to Satun in the south. These closings come after Thai officials closed Koh Tachai, a popular island in the Andaman Sea, earlier this month. The island is closed indefinitely.

"This is such a small island, I would say it could accommodate just a few hundred tourists a day," Tunya Nethithammakul, director general of the Department of National Parks, told CNN. "But it turned out that at certain points there were almost 2,000 tourists visiting the island (daily)."

The closings are shunned by the tourism industry, but officials say it is a necessary step in protecting the country's ecosystem.

“The problem is that we have damaged our marine resources for a long time," Thon Thamrongnawasawat, deputy dean of fisheries at Kasetsart University in Bangkok and a leading advocate of marine conservation, told the New York Times. “If we want it to recover, we must use strong medicine. I am not proposing to close all islands. But we have to start thinking about the plan to tackle the increasing number of tourists."

Photo credit: The University of Queensland

While the popular diving sites and island are closed, officials will inspect them to determine if tourists will be allowed back by peak tourism season, which begins in November.

“Where we see there is still a crisis, we will have to keep the area and reefs preserved," Reungsak told The Guardian.

Coral bleaching is primarily caused by warming waters. When corals come under environmental stress, they shed the algae that gives them their color. The coral then become white, or bleached. If the stress continues, the coral will eventually die, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This phenomenon has been a major problem for the world's reefs for the last decade. The U.S. lost half of its coral reefs in the Caribbean in 2005 due to a bleaching event, according to NOAA. Earlier this year, the Great Barrier Reef suffered its worst coral bleaching event in history.

It is possible, though, for reefs to bounce back after bleaching events with the proper management.

Even if you don't live right by the ocean, your decisions can affect coral reefs as well, find out what you can do to help prevent coral bleaching.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Scientists Confirm: 93% of Great Barrier Reef Now Bleached

Great Barrier Reef Could Be Dead in 20 Years

Massive Coral Reef Discovered at Mouth of Amazon, But It's Already Threatened by Oil Drilling

10 Eco-Destinations in North America to Add to Your Bucket List

Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending


piyaset / iStock / Getty Images Plus

In an alarming new study, scientists found that climate change is already harming children's diets.

Read More Show Less
Wildfires within the Arctic Circle in Alaska on June 4, 2020. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data processed by Pierre Markuse. CC BY 2.0

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

Earth had its second-warmest year on record in 2020, just 0.02 degrees Celsius (0.04°F) behind the record set in 2016, and 0.98 degrees Celsius (1.76°F) above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported January 14.

Read More Show Less

In December of 1924, the heads of all the major lightbulb manufacturers across the world met in Geneva to concoct a sinister plan. Their talks outlined limits on how long all of their lightbulbs would last. The idea is that if their bulbs failed quickly customers would have to buy more of their product. In this video, we're going to unpack this idea of purposefully creating inferior products to drive sales, a symptom of late-stage capitalism that has since been coined planned obsolescence. And as we'll see, this obsolescence can have drastic consequences on our wallets, waste streams, and even our climate.

Read More Show Less