By Paul Foley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An analysis of the effect of the tsunami on marine resources was co-coordinated by the Department of Coastal and Marine Resources and the Phuket Marine Biological Centre. It was conducted using a standardised methodology by those Thai universities in possession of baseline data.
Number of Thailand diving sites:
|- Surin Islands||0||5||7||5||4||21|
|- Similan Islands||11||7||8||5||7||38|
|- Phi Phi Islands||5||4||3||2||1||15|
Special thanks to Dr Niphon Phongsuwan.
A survey conducted by the Phuket Dive Operators Club of Thailand, focusing only on acknowledged Thailand dive sites, found corresponding data: 73% of diver's reefs suffered little to no damage.
Although there are naturally concerns about the smothering effect of displaced sediment and physical damage upon reefs and other fish nursery grounds, the author feels these to be misplaced. Those of us who have dived on tsunami hit reefs before, such as at Maumere - Flores in Indonesia, know that reefs are fully capable of taking such natural events as this in their stride.
Mostly, reefs are capable of withstanding the force of the wave, and where they are not, the reef bounces back in remarkably quick time, with no noticeable detrimental effect upon fish stocks. Indeed generally, the tsunami event may prove to be a positive thing for the health of the reef as a whole, just as forest fires play an important role in reinvigorating the forest ecosystem by allowing a spurt of fresh growth.
This is in contrast to the damage that occurs from pollution, warming, habitat destruction, damaging fishing practices, and over-fishing: We remind all that these insidious dangers are the real issues needing address so as to maintain the health of the reef ecosystems we love.
Paul Foley is an independent professional conservationist working largely with the scuba diving industry, and focusing on:
He played an integral role in the establishment of no shark fishing zones in Myanmar, and international protection of the great white shark and Napoleon wrasse through CITES.