The oceans and bays around the island of Phuket are home to a myriad of colourful sea-life and marine ecosystems. But with the ongoing rise in tourism to the region, snorkelers and divers have to play their part in preserving the wonders of the deep.
The recent and ongoing closure of Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi underlines the government of Thailand’s dedication in protecting the marine life of Thailand. But every visitor needs to commit to helping preserve marine life as well.
Fortunately, public awareness is growing as to just how fragile these ecosystems are. But with this rise in awareness, more and more visitors to the region are becoming interested in seeing for themselves the beauty that lies beneath the waves.
We’ve put together a few tips on how you can strap on a mask and fins and explore the region’s undersea world safely, responsibly and sustainably.
Look, But Don’t TouchThis basic warning serves to keep both tourists and the marine ecosystem safe and healthy. But the warning is aimed more for the marine life's benefit than the tourist. There are only a few marine animals in the waters around Phuket that can harm you. A tourist is much more likely to cause serious harm to the sea-life by touching, handling, standing on, and disturbing it.
Some corals can take decades to regrow after just an afternoon of thoughtless actions by snorkellers and divers. These corals serve as homes to much of the marine life on a reef. Destroying the homes of the sea-life ruins the habitat and forces the colourful sea-life to venture to other areas to find a haven.
Be aware of your body in the water and watch out where you kick with your fins. Likewise, standing on a coral reef to take a breather is a no-no. And touching or handling a fish can damage their scales and be an invitation to parasites to invade their skin.
Preserve the Reefs and Beaches of Phuket
You may think that shell and coral collection is a harmless holiday activity. But if every one of the hundreds of thousands of tourists thought the same thing, the reefs and beaches of Phuket would start to vanish.
It’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between live and dead coral. Tourists removing a pretty piece of coral that they think would look good in their aquarium at home could be the beginning of devastation to the reefs around Phuket.
Shells, coral, and rocks are the basic components of the sand that covers Phuket’s beaches. These components are broken down over time by erosion to form the white-sand beaches for which the island is famous.
The other important reason not to be a coral or shell collector in Phuket is that it’s illegal. Being caught with natural shells or coral can earn you a fine by the authorities. The law is in place to preserve the beaches and reefs of the region, so it’s a law that should be respected.
If you simply must have a seashell as a souvenir of your holiday in Phuket, visit the Phuket Aquarium. They have a souvenir shop selling seashells that are harvested sustainably.
Be an Underwater Trash-collector
Mesh bags such as those used as laundry bags can double as trash bags underwater. The holes allow the water to drain out. Armed with one of these and cheap BBQ tongs, encourage your family to pick up any trash you see in the water.
You’ll be surprised, and hopefully concerned, by how much trash is in the ocean. Even a seemingly pristine area is subject to the scourge of disposable plastics that currently are haunting the world’s oceans and turning up in the digestive tracts of sea animals.
When you’re out snorkelling, make a habit of coming equipped to pick up any trash you see in the areas you’re exploring. You’ll feel good about playing a part in preserving the marine environment for future generations, and it can be an educational experience for the whole family.
Explore Phuket’s Marine Ecosystem
Visiting Phuket can teach your family a valuable lesson on the need to preserve the marine life of the world’s oceans. Every type of marine life is interdependent on the others to survive. This is the meaning of the word ‘ecosystem.’
Exploring this ecosystem in a respectful and sustainable manner, will help preserve this colourful and extraordinary marine environment. It will also provide a healthy home for the world’s undersea creatures for centuries to come.
Rentals for the Holidays rents accommodations all over the island of Phuket. Rent a modern spacious single or multi-bedroom apartment overlooking a stunning beach or the Andaman Sea. With Rentals for the Holidays, you'll have your pick of the most beautiful areas of this tropical island in which to stay.