By Salinee Prap
The Phuket branch office of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) has joined with the private sector and volunteers to tie still-living sections of broken coral onto the coral reefs of Patong Bay in the province’s island resort.
A previous application of the method found an 80-90 per cent success rate in keeping the coral alive and healthy, said DMCR Phuket office executive Paitoon Panchaiyaphoom.
The recent operation saw 30 volunteer divers re-attach 500 broken-off coral branches to the bay’s coral reef. The coral was broken by tourists as they stepped on the fragile reef and by fishery activities.
The project is a collaboration between the DMCR Phuket office, Thavorn Beach Village Resort & Spa, and the Siam Cement Group diving club.
It aims to this year grow 2,000 colonies of coral in a one-rai (0.16-hectare) area of Patong Bay, also known as Nakalay Bay. Project participants will periodically follow up on the survival rate and growth of the transplanted coral, said Paitoon.
The project has also helped raise awareness among divers, who now know what to do with broken coral and the importance of being careful in diving around the reef.