Thailand’s marine resources gain from tourism slump


The Nation   6.6.2022

The volume of marine resources in Thailand has increased, which has been attributed to the decline in the number of tourists in the past two years due to the Covid-19 crisis.

According to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Thailand has 1.74 million rai (278,000 hectares) of mangrove forests, up 200,000 rai compared to 2014. The country also has 40,254.52 rai of beach forests.

Thailand has 261 dugongs, 3,025 whales and dolphins, and five species of sea turtles. The number of sea turtle nests has increased from 413 in 2018 to 491 in 2020.

Four rare aquatic animals, namely leatherback turtle, whale shark, Bryde’s whale and Omura’s whale have been listed in Thailand’s reserved wild animals in 2019.

Thailand also has 149,025 rai of coral reefs with 280 species. However, the damage of coral reefs in the Andaman Sea has increased, while coral reefs in the Gulf of Thailand and the east were moderately plentiful.

Meanwhile, the country has 159,829 rai of seagrass meadows, of which 64 per cent were moderately plentiful.

Thailand also has 3,151 kilometres of coasts, of which 2,356.76 kilometres are free from coastal erosion.

However, 536 sea turtles, 248 whales and dolphins, and 17 dugongs were washed up on the shore and died in 2020. Up to 80 per cent of sea turtles and dugongs had died due to fishing tools, nets and boat propellers, while 65 per cent of dolphins and whales had died due to natural illness.

Department of Marine and Coastal Resources director-general Sophon Thongdee said the number of dugongs and leatherback turtles had increased and it was likely to increase further.

He added that the department also has a plan to increase the population of dugongs, whales, dolphins and leatherback turtles.

The department aims to grow 300,000 rai of mangrove forests by 2032, increase 280 dugongs in 2022, decrease the number of rare aquatic animals washing up on the shore, tackle plastic waste problems and promote participation among various sectors to maintain the environment, he said.