Coral off Phuket suffering from bleaching
Corals have started to bleach off the coast of Phuket.
The problem is due to the warming of the sea, according to reports from the Phuket-based operations centre of the 2nd National Marine Park.
Marine scientists at the centre conducted a survey of coral reefs off Nai Yang beach in Sirinat National Park last Thursday and found that the sea surface temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius and that 10 per cent of the staghorn and mushroom corals, between 1 and 4 metres deep, had started to bleach, although they are not yet dead.
The report says that, if the warming of the sea continues, the coral bleaching problem will become more serious and will affect the ability of the reefs to regenerate.
Associate Professor Suchana Chavanit of the Marine Science Department at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science, said that corals in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand had been deteriorating due to excessive tourism and fishing but, in the past five to 10 years, the warming of sea water, especially during the dry season, had led to acute coral bleaching.
She pointed out that the weather this year had been especially hot, causing sea temperatures to exceed 30 degrees, and added that staghorn and table corals were very sensitive to sea warming and changes in sea temperature.
To prevent corals in Thai seas from becoming extinct, Suchana proposed deep-freezing the sperm of the corals for future artificial insemination to ensure the best chance for their survival.
There are currently over 70 coral species in Thai waters.