It is pleasing to have some positive news to report following our last blog about the sad death of a turtle entangled in fishing net at Koh Phra Thong.
After discussing the tragic event with Blue Guru instructors, a local Thai man phoned the authorities to report it and the large volume of fishing boats in the area. Being honest, we didn't think any action would be taken. We were thankfully wrong ...
For the past 2 weeks on a daily basis hundreds of concrete blocks have been dropped off the coast line of Koh Phra Thong to create a huge artifical reef. These blocks will deter fishing boats from bottom trawling near offshore reefs as their nets will snag and break. Hopefully this will substantially reduce the volume of boats fishing in this particular part of the Andaman Sea.
This artificial reef will also help stop discarded fishing nets drifting onto our local reefs, as they will get caught on the blocks and held out at sea. Although not removing this debris from our sea altogether, it will at least be kept away from Koh Phra Thong's reefs which are a nursery ground for sharks, rays, turtles & a wide range of reef fish bred in the nearby mangroves.
As part of Blue Guru's Ocean Action Project sponsored by Project AWARE we have been gathering data on sharks, rays & fishing boats seen this season whilst diving at Koh Phra Thong's offshore & local sites. It will be interesting to analyse the data from the whole season to see if there is any significant change in sightings after the creation of this artificial reef.
One thing is for sure - we hope this positive conservation action will mean we never see marine life entangled in fishing nets on Koh Phra Thong's reefs again.