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Green Coast discovers new coral reef & rare fish

20-Feb-2006

During a Green Coast reef cleaning operation a team of WWF divers, using information from local fishermen, made the exciting discovery in January this year. Initial rapid surveys have identified ove...

During a Green Coast reef cleaning operation a team of WWF divers, using information from local fishermen, made the exciting discovery in January this year. Initial rapid surveys have identified over 270 hectares of previously unknown, relatively healthy reefs with over 30 genera of hard corals, and at least 112 species of fish from 56 families. These include a  new record – the parrot fish Chlorurus rakaura first discovered in Sri Lanka and never seen in Thailand until now, as well as a rare species of sweet lips Plectorhincus macrospilus previously only known from the Similan Islands. There may still be more surprises to come. 

“I believe discussions with fishermen over a wider area will lead us to discover even more important reefs, not yet mapped or protected by the authorities”,
said Songpol Tippayawong, Head of the WWF Thailand Marine and Coastal Conservation Unit. “This reef is easily accessible to dive operators from nearby Khao Lak, and if managed properly can become a prominent local dive site while also contributing an important source of income to the local community.”

Green Coast partner WWF is working closely with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the Department of National Parks, local communities and dive operators to initiate effective management of the reef, which may ultimately be included in a marine national park. Planned work includes more extensive surveys and research, restoration of degraded areas, the placing of mooring bouys for dive boats, assessment of carrying capacity and establishing a system for collection of dive fees and their use to support community-based conservation activities. 

On 19th February, with additional support from the Royal Thai Navy, around 20 divers assisted in removal of marine debris from the reef, and the release of 100 giant clams. “This is a spectacular reef and it's exciting to think that there may be even more areas like this still awaiting our discovery”, said Dr Robert Mather, WWF Senior Programme Manager. 

You can download the press release from the right toolbar.

Moving images of the new coral reef were broadcasted on Andaman News TV11. You can download the webvideo here.

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