18 January 2011

Thai dive sites may be closed due to coral bleaching

Coral bleaching has damaged Thailand's Andaman Sea reefs more severely than the 2004 tsunami, said the Thai National Parks Director.
Bleaching corals
from the The Bangkok Post 8 May 10;
The Director of Research, National Parks, Thailand, Dr Songtam Suksawang, said 93.6% of coral at Surin, the Similans, Phi Phi, Racha and Phuket are dead. The coral bleaching rates by site are: Surin Island, 99.9%; Thachai Island 84%; Surin South 85%; Similan Island 89.3%. The species affected are the Staghorn, Ring, Double Star and Mountain coral

"Damage was much worse than the destruction caused by the 2004 tsunami, he said. The coral could take between five and 10 years to recover, he said, and yet there were no signs of young coral.

While elevated sea temperatures caused coral bleaching, reefs there were also under pressure from "waste and pollution from diving boats". "Many divers are also contributing to the damage as they step on the coral," said Thai officials.

The dugong population, once believed to be recovering, was now declining as their rare sea grass feeding zones were polluted by coastal construction. Turtle numbers had risen last year but were now showing signs of declining once again. Coral fish were also being sighted in fewer numbers.

Full articles on wildsingapore news.

Severe bleaching was also reported for the Indian coasts of the Andaman Sea. Reef surveys conducted by Indian scientists revealed 37-70% coral bleaching in April-May 2010. Although bleaching were reported in 1998 and 2002 in this region, the 2010 bleaching is considered much worse. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are bestowed with the richest coral diversity among all Indian reefs.

Full article on wildsingapore news.

This post is also found on wild shores of singapore.

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