Thailand: Nearly all coral off Nai Yang beach damaged by bleaching, say Phuket divers

Eakkapop Thongtub The Phuket News 6 Jun 16;

PHUKET: Divers from the Naiyang Reef Club have discovered a large amount of coral, off Nai Yang Beach which they say has been damaged by bleaching. The discovery was made by the group during a clean up exercise of the seabed which was carried out yesterday (June 5).

Mr Chana Wongthanawiruth, security personnel from Phuket International Airport, posted several photos of the bleached coral on his ‘Wang YI Long’ Facebook page along with the message: “It is already happening – coral bleaching at Nai Yang Beach and the damaged is severe this time.”

He also advised officials to visit the area and help recover the damaged coral before it’s too late.

Mr Chana revealed that at 10:30am yesterday, after he and his friends had taken part in a routine sea cleaning session off Nai Yang Beach, they then went to inspect the coral within Sirinath National Park territory.

He explained, “The area we inspected was about 2-3 metres deep. A lot of coral that was affected by bleaching back in 2000 is in the recovery stage. However, today the underwater temperature was 30 degrees which is consider high after rainfall.

“In addition, the coral has also been damaged by polluted water being release into the sea by local communities and hotels. This is a big issue for the Nai Yang area and it must be resolved soon,” he said.

Mr Chana also pointed out that Antler coral appeared to be the most damaged species by the bleaching and that he estimated around 90% of the area is damaged.

“We also found other species of coral that was about five per cent damaged,” he said.

“Last year we discovered that the coral in Nai Yang that had been damaged by bleaching in 2000 has been recovering very fast, normally when coral is bleached it will take at least ten years to recover.

“At Koh Pling, which is cross from the Sirinath National park office, we found may species of coral recovering and many new reefs forming.

“These reefs are about three or four years old, they were not fully developed, but they were thriving and spreading into other areas because they are in the reproductive stage. However, today most of them have been affected by the bleaching process,” Mr Chana added.

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