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Thailand Dive Sites CLOSED

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Due to coral bleaching Thai authoritys have closed many dive sites to allow reefs time to recover.
8 years ago, January 21st 2011 No: 1 Msg: #126985  
B Posts: 897
http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/breaking-news/thailand-closes-popular-dive-spots/story-e6frg12u-1225992513448

If anyone has a dive trip booked may be worth contacting your dive shop and finding out if the area you plan to dive in is closed...there goes my trip to the similans!

Lets hope the measures pay off. Reply to this

8 years ago, January 22nd 2011 No: 2 Msg: #127052  
Isn't coral bleaching predominantly caused by increased water temperature - too warm for the corals to function normally?
I'd have though a better solution that we should address the cause of the warming. Merely preventing divers from visiting the reefs surely won't solve the bleaching problem.
Also, has any heard any indication of how long the dive sites are going to stay closed for.
I've thought for a while that there is a heavy volume of diving on some of Thailand's Andaman coast dive sites. But there must be a wiser way to deal with things than this - for example closing a smaller number of dive sites on a rotation?
Right now it's the Andaman coasts high season, and this ban is likely to have a severe effect on diving tourism.
Obviously we all want to help preserve nature and ensure the long term sustainability of the reefs, but this seems like a bit of a knee jerk reaction - I'm guessing bleaching has been observe on those reefs for some time?
Plus another consideration is that Thailand's Andaman coast diving industry is a seasonal operation - from about November till April/May, so they have a naturally enforced close season during Summer during which times the reefs and aquatic life has time to recover. Isn't that sufficient?

Regards<snip>
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8 years ago, January 22nd 2011 No: 3 Msg: #127058  
B Posts: 897
Yes - exactly - ive gone through my dive logs and mapped thailand over the last few years and noticed water temp in may 2009 at 29 degrees, october at 28 degrees, looking at 2010...may 32 degrees, october 32.4 degrees way too hot to sustain the algae on the corals (Yes, I like diving out of season). Preventing divers wont do anything regarding the warmer ocean temps which are a response to la nina conditions and the fact the great ocean conveyor current stopped for a few days last year. The Andaman coast is one of my favourite dive spots, has been for 20 odd years but the last year I noticed a LOT of coral bleaching - I did have a trip booked for the similans this year after sipidan but it looks like thats not going to happen.

http://ww.bangkokpost.com/news/local/217417/18-dive-sites-closed-to-save-coral-reefs

Check the picture below the map of sites closed..tourists standing on reef. Divers dont stand on reefs...ban snorkellers??

I totally agree with you on the heavy volume of divers and rotating sites closed....the three dive day option out of phuket with Shark Point, Koh Dok Mai and King Cruiser Wreck is a prime example. I counted over 40 other divers in the water when I did this dive so can only imagine the number of divers there per week. I think the Thai (and Indonesian and Vietnamese) dive industry has possibly priced itself into a market where affordability equals volume and a lot of "do my dive course in thailand where its cheap" divers who due to no fault of their own other than inexperience are at a higher risk of making contact with the reef and damaging the ecosystem. All divers no matter how experienced have the odd oops moment whether due to currents or surge or just having an unco day.

The other thing I believe has impacted on the volume of dive shops is demand - high demand and low price structures have created a highly competitive market with a high volume of industry players competing for customers - why not increase the prices of dives across the board in Thai waters? I know im a "flashpacker" so my opinion isnt going to be a popular one but when you consider I can go out on a boat and do a three dive day with all hired gear except my wetty for 1200bht..and a two dive day here in West Australia to Rottnest island costs me $140AUD with all my own gear even doubling the price of dive trips out of thailand will still be within the reach of most people and still a lot cheaper than diving in Aus for example.

Im all for conservation but do agree this is perhaps a knee jerk reaction because the root cause is la nina - plus I want to get back in the andaman as soon as possible.

Good to hear your thoughts KohTao...ive posted the link on dive forums here too...quite a lot who have trips booked to the sims etc are affected.

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8 years ago, January 23rd 2011 No: 4 Msg: #127101  
B Posts: 5,186
I have a trip to the Similan Islands early this February - I got in touch with the dive operator I'll be diving with.

The response was that - "Two dives sites at the Similan Islands and four at the Surin Islands have been closed for reef protection. This will not affect your live-aboard trip as there are ample dive sites left to dive at. So, nothing to worry about." (seadragon dive center)

I'm sure that this is the case, the bleaching will be a shame, I hope with time and the switch out of La Nina and back to normal patterns things will improve.

As regards to banning divers/snorkellers from stressed reefs, I agree it probably won't have a huge benefit, but if it does mean that the reef recovers that little quicker then it's a fair response.

I hope that other countries start adopting "coral farming" methods pioneered in Fiji - seems to be working well video (german audio)
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8 years ago, February 11th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #128790  
B Posts: 5,186
Just back from a liveaboard trip in the similans - I can't report on the number of dive sites closed - in the similans it was limited as to just one of the islands.

In summary - last year was a very warm one - and there is a lot of coral bleaching - but this year is back to normal temperatures, sub 29'c and hopefully it will recover.

I had 17 fantastic dives - and saw most of what I had hoped to. I'd recommend going based on my experiences.
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8 years ago, February 12th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #128874  
Mantas and whalesharks? Reply to this

8 years ago, February 13th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #128929  
B Posts: 5,186
Mantas yes, whalesharks no - did see my first harlequin shrimp - photos to follow 😊 Reply to this

8 years ago, February 13th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #128935  
B Posts: 897
Cant wait to see them Ali - is Richeleiu rock still open? Reply to this

8 years ago, February 15th 2011 No: 9 Msg: #129162  

Mantas yes, whalesharks no - did see my first harlequin shrimp - photos to follow 😊



I love seeing the big stuff but the small stuff always catches my attention and imagination much more... I'd probably miss a manta swimming a couple of meters from me if I clapped eyes on one of those little fellas! 😊 Reply to this

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