This year we conducted 2 beach clean ups, a reef clean up dive & a Coral Watch survey snorkel, all on 22nd April - Dive For Earth Day. We were busy!! These activities were conducted with the involvement of: diving & non diving guests; Blue Guru & Golden Buddha Resort staff and 2 local Thai fishermen.
The most common items picked up during the morning & afternoon beach clean ups were 1. polystyrene and 2. plastic. Plastic is a serious threat to the turtle population which come to Koh Phra Thong's beaches to breed. Polystyrene is used by local fishermen to mark their fishing traps and the huge amount collected illustrated how much fishing is done near our shores. Participants even found a discarded fishing trap on the beach.
The most common item retrieved in the reef clean up dive was discarded fishing nets. Sadly these intertwine around coral reefs and removing them is a very delicate process to ensure no damage to the reef. We involved 2 local fishermen in the underwater clean up, so they could see first hand the negative impact that discarding fishing net has on our local reefs.
The saddest part of our Dive For Earth story is that participants also found a dead juvenile ray on the beach. We believe it was caught in a nearby discarded fishing net and suffocated when the tide went out. This provided a poignant illustration of the harm that fishing nets can do to our local marine life.
The snorkelers conducted a Coral Watch survey to help with our ongoing monitoring of the local reefs' health. The widespread bleaching event of 2010 affected Koh Phra Thong's relatively shallow coral reefs. However it is pleasing to report that new growth can already be seen. We look forward to continuing our Coral Watch surveys next season to monitor the ongoing recovery.
Blue Guru would like to extend special thanks to all the guests, staff & local people who gave their time & energy towards our Dive For Earth Day activities. Everyone's efforts have made a positive difference. Hopefully all participants also learnt about the negative impact that local fishing equipment & rubbish can have on our marine environment.