Rigs-to-reefs project proves successful in Koh Pha-ngan
Artificial reefs converted from retired platform jackets installed in the Gulf of Thailand around Surat Thani’s Koh Pha-ngan island almost 2 years ago have given a significant boost to marine wildlife in the area.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, however, said he had to cancel his plan to dive down and check the reefs for himself due to high waves and monsoon.
The artificial reefs converted from seven retired platform jackets were provided by Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production Ltd.
“Though I have not seen it in person, the photos taken by divers yesterday [May 20] show the artificial reefs have served as the foundation of an underwater ecosystem, which helped increase the number of marine lives around the island significantly,” he said.
“I have instructed the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to monitor the condition of these artificial reefs and record changes and impacts to marine resources periodically, so we can make further improvements when implementing the project elsewhere,” Varawut said.
After the placement of retired platform jackets as artificial reefs completed in September 2020, the DMCR issued an order on the measure for the protection of coral resources at the site, in force from 8 March 2021 to 8 March 2023. It prohibits fishery by all means, diving tourism, or any activity at risk of disturbing corals and organisms at the reefed jackets. Its purpose is to accelerate the formation of soft corals and colonization by marine organisms as nursery habitats, thereby efficiently promoting further formation of new coral reefs.