Diving Sites in Thailand Closed Due to Coral Bleaching
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
After authorities in Thailand recently decided to close the popular island destination of Koh Tachai, claiming tourists had hurt the ecosystem there, more than 10 diving sites in the country’s national marine parks have been shut down, CNN reported.
The diving sites were closed due to coral bleaching, the result of algae being expelled from coral, CNN said. Increased sea temperatures and extreme weather events can cause coral bleaching.
Coral bleach has spread to between 40 and 80 percent of the reefs along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, Marine National Park Division director Nattapol Rattanaphan told CNN.
The two areas most affected by coral bleaching are Koh Ma Prao and Koh Chumpon; 80 percent of their corals having turned white, Rattanaphan told CNN.
"Sea temperature has been unusually high, reaching 34 degrees Celsius at one point," Rattanaphan told CNN. "This happened around early April to early May this year and lasted for several weeks."
Rattanaphan told CNN that coral reefs begin to bleach when water temperatures reach more than 30.5 degrees Celsius and last for two to three weeks.
More by Amy Coyne Bredeson
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