11 July 2024

Extensive coral bleaching has been found in 21 marine parks in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand between April and early June, according to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

In the Andaman Sea, coral bleaching has occurred in the Mu Ko Ranong, Mu Ko Surin, Mu Ko Similan, Laem Son, Sirinart, Ao Phang-nga, Hat Nopparat Tara-Mu Ko Phi, Mu Ko Lanta, Hat Chao Mai, Mu Ko Petra, Tarutao and Than Bok Khorani marine parks.

Coral bleaching has also been found in Mu Ko Chang, Khao Laem Ya-Mu Ko Samed, Sam Roi Yot, Ha Duan Korn, Ao Siam, Mu Ko Chumphon, Mu Ko Ang Thong, Than Sadet-Ko Pha-ngan and Hat Khanom-Mu Ko Thalay Tai marine parks in the Gulf.

According to the department, very serious coral bleaching has been detected in 79 out of 182 locations in the 21 marine parks and bleaching in 71 locations is considered serious, while the bleaching of corals in remaining locations is mild.

The department does not, however, explain the cause or causes of the extensive coral bleaching, but marine experts, including Thon Thamrongnawasawat, have blamed the extensive bleaching this year on the unusually warm sea water.

Seven marine parks have now been closed to visitors. They are Mu Ko Phetra, Mu Ko Chang, Hat Chao Mai, Hat Nopparat Tara-Mu Ko Phi Phi, Sirinart and Than Bok Khorani.

Six other marine parks are also closed seasonally.