Dive Tribes CEO Gwyn Mills and Dr Wayne Phillips from Mahidol University flew over to the beautiful island of Phuket to begin to asses the situation.
Dive Tribe needed to pack a number of tools with them incl. reef pins, 50 meter tape measure, rulers, EMP slates, Hammers, GPS locators, salinity and water density meters to begin the surveying. (Unfortunately the reef pins were not aloud on the plane so we had to improvise).
On descending to approx. 8-10 meters the damage was evident straight away, in-fact myself and Dr Wayne were both surprised at how much damage had been sustained directly to the reef and that many of the moorings currently in use were ropes simply attached around coral heads which can cause damage and even kill the coral they are trying to protect.
Algae was also present across some of the reefs which suggest a higher nutrient content than is healthy in the bays, a way of helping this is to ask Dive Guides and Divemasters when they give their presentation to the public on the boat to ask them not to flush the toilets while over the reef/dive sites unless it is really necessary.
That same day as part of the installation survey, we took 50 meter transect lines across the reefs, this gives us a snapshot of what corals are growing (Massive, Submassive, Foliose, Corymbose) etc. From this data we can determine age, recently killed corals, anchor damage and if they are fast or slow growing and whether or not they will encroach on the newly laid anchors.
The data is collected on slates and then Dr Wayne and Gwyn with the help of GPS, tide tables and depth limits, determine where anchors should be placed in the bays with minimal environmental impact.
With the help of divers from Go Eco Phuket our team would like to assist in the movement of these blocks and build and artificial reef in an area that would see healthy coral growth and no damage.
The artificial reefs that have been installed before have all suffered greatly from anchor damage, some have had direct strikes which have broken through the concrete and others have been turned over on their sides by anchors.
Phase 1 We have to remove stresses on the reefs and one of the largest and easily removable is anchor damage. Our suggestion for the Helix Anchor was explained to the team at Go Eco Phuket and questions were answered as to the strength of the anchors and pricing of the project.
Phase 2 We need to able to monitor the reefs and collect data to see how well the reef is functioning and to become proactive not reactive to its needs. This is where Dive Tribe would like to teach their Ecological Monitoring Program (EMP) to the dive schools in Phuket. With this program and subsequent data collection we can work as a team over time to ensure our reefs stay healthy. It will give us the background knowledge we require to the begin to make educated assessments as to what types of corals we can establish in our artificial reefs .
Phase 3 Artificial reef construction needs to be looked at, once the site is secure and anchor damage will not effect the area. Dr Wayne with the help of Dive Tribe and volunteers from Go Eco Phuket have a chance to work on some pioneering work to reconstruct the reefs. Wayne would, with the permission of the Department of Marine & Coastal Resources (DMCR) like to begin a coral spawning and recruitment drive to reintroduce corals to the dive sites. With Dive Tribe engineers we can help the teams at Go Eco Phuket design and construct the correct reefs and coral gardens that will be successful in their areas.
They asked us many questions about the project in Pattaya and we believe that they were strongly behind this project, so much so they invited us to meet with the Governor of Phuket for afternoon tea. Sadly we had to fly back to Bangkok so no tea quaffing was done although we will look forward to meeting with them all again.
Go Eco Phuket are currently looking for sponsors for this project and would welcome the chance to give Dive Tribes “Reef Protection” presentation and proposal to interested companies, sponsors and supporters.
You can contact Joe Blazy at firstname.lastname@example.org
& Simone at email@example.com
The Reefs In Phuket Are Still Beautiful And Should Still be Considered As A Prime Dive Location For The Traveling Diver. We Were Amazed At The Immense Bio Diversity These Reefs Sustain Which Is all the More Reason To Protect Them.
Thank You from the team at Dive Tribe
YOUR SUPPORT IS TAKING A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION