Kathu District chief Sayan Chanachaiwong along with Royal Thai Navy Deputy Chief of Staff Capt Kitti Yoskrai, Emerald Bay Company Directing Manager Mr Trikhwan Boonnak, Director of Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation Centre Phuket office Mr Paitoon Panchaiphumi and other officials gathered at Tritrang Beach to join today to watch as the blocks were placed into the sea.
“The newly laid artificial reef will attract tourists and increase income for local people, at the same time it will help to revive marine resources,” said Mr Paitoon.
“In the past, Patong Bay was well known for its beautiful and abundant coral reef which is the core of the marine ecosystem. The reef was a place for marine animals to lay eggs, take refuge and care for their young. It was also a place to fish and attract tourists,” he added.
He continued: “We used to have a lot of tourists visit the area and create more income for local people, especially along the Tritrang reef which covered about 500 rai. Marine animals were abundant and fishermen were happy.”
However, Mr Paitoon pointed out that today the coral reefs in this area have gone.
“The numbers of marine animals in this area has also decreased as the reef has been ruined by global warming, coral bleaching, increasing numbers of crown-of-thorns starfish which feed on coral, but worse of all it was ruined by the 2004 Tsunami, debris from construction sites and water pollution released into the sea,” he said.
Mr Paitoon went on to explain that with the help of Emerald Bay Villa Co and Emerald Resort and Spa who have tourism business in Patong they have managed to place the artificial reef project.
“The total cost for this project is B1.2 million. It was launched last year with many activities including removing the ruined coral, cleaning them and returning them to the sea to create the foundation for the new artificial reef,” he said.
“We had divers picking up rubbish and workers setting up mooring buoys. Last year we planted 150 cubes of artificial reef in one rai and today we have added another 120 block of artificial reef to the rest of the area.
“We will continue with this project and add more artificial reef to the area, within five years we will fully recover the marine ecosystem of Tritrang Beach,” he concluded.
Mr Paitoon also thanked Nakorn Luang Concrete Co Ldt Phuket branch who donated the blocks tro be used for the artificial reef.