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Marine Conservation In Pattaya – What’s Going On Under Our Ocean?

Many of us take to the beach for swimming, boat trips, and water activities but have probably never realised that under the ocean here in Pattaya some very serious marine conservation work is taking place. The organisation behind this conservation work is Dive Tribe a small group based in Pattaya working with Universities and International researchers.

 

Dive Tribe has been involved in reef conservation for over 6 years. Their work takes them all over Thailand but the majority is based in Pattaya.

 

Dive Tribe has been involved in reef conservation for over 6 years. Their work takes them all over Thailand but the majority is based in Pattaya. Their research projects include the largest shark tagging and release program in South East Asia. This has allowed the team to monitor the number of sharks on the reef, look at their health and reintroduce a species (Brown Banded Bamboo Sharks) back to the reefs which have been heavily fished.

 

In 2014 DT had a student from Tasmania University over to help with the research and a very important scientific paper was produced. The end result was very well received by those with an interest in benthic sharks.

 

Dive Tribe also conduct an in-depth survey technique that any diver can learn called the Ecological Monitoring Program. This survey looks at specific corals, reef health, invertebrates and fish life on the reef. The survey targets a set of indicator species that should be found on the reef by a simple process and over time Dive Tribe can learn if numbers of species are on the incline or decline.

 

Why is this important? 

 

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea and are some of the most bio-diverse, productive ecosystems on earth.

 

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea and are some of the most bio-diverse, productive ecosystems on earth. They occupy only 2% of the ocean, yet are home to a quarter of all marine species: crustaceans, reptiles, seaweeds, bacteria and fungi. Over 4000 species of fish make their home in coral reefs.They also have an annual global economic value of $375 billion. Coral reefs provide food and resources for over 500 million people in 94 countries and territories.

 

Dive Tribe have been protecting coral reefs in Pattaya with an eco friendly mooring system, which allows boats to moor near the reefs but stops them dropping their anchor and thus destroying years of coral growth that we may never be able to replace or grow back. This mooring project is important to protect the existing coral reefs in Pattaya and we would like to hear from any companies that realise the importance of our marine eco system and would like to get behind a project that protects coral reefs. Companies that would like to learn more and sponsor their own reef please get in touch.

 

Dive Tribe are also building artificial reefs and coral nurseries in the Pattaya area. These nurseries are built to help to grow corals and then they replant onto the natural reefs that have been damaged. Divers are more than welcome to join this project with Dive Tribe and we actively encourage other to come and learn to dive with us and get involved in these rewarding projects.

 

Divers are more than welcome to join this project with Dive Tribe and we actively encourage other to come and learn to dive with us and get involved in these rewarding projects.

 

Now did you know that Pattaya is a hotspot for seahorses?

Dr Lynn Loh and a small team conducted surveys throughout 2013 at 53 sites along Thailand’s coastline and believe it or not, Koh Larn, Koh Sak and Koh Pai, were found to have the highest number of seahorses, with as many as 22 seahorses spotted in 2 dives at Koh Larn.

 

Dive Tribe are now working with Dr Lynn Loh from SHEDD Aquarium and a graduate student from Kasersart University studying the populations of seahorses in Pattaya for the next year.

 

The species found in Pattaya is called the Hedgehog Seahorse

 

The species found in Pattaya is called the Hedgehog Seahorse and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. This species is caught and dried and used for the Chinese medicine trade. Sadly Thailand is the top exporter of seahorses and we do risk losing these wonderful creatures if we don’t start implementing protection.

 

This is where you and Dive Tribe come in, seahorses are a popular tourist attraction for divers and photographers. We are working with the Tourist Authority of Thailand and Marine Dept to start lobbying for their protection in Pattaya. Dive Tribe is now able to certify you as a PADI seahorse specialist and guarantee to find seahorses on your dives with us.

 

In March 2015 Jeff Corwin from the TV show Ocean Mysteries dived with Dive Tribe and the seahorses and filmed a TV special here in Pattaya to aired later in 2015.

If you have seahorse sighting you can log them at www.iseahorse.org.

 

If you would like to learn more about marine conservation and dive with the Tribe, then drop in on their website www.divetribe.org or leave Gwyn, Dive Tribes CEO a message at gmills@thedivetribe.com

 

 

 

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