THAILAND

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The coral reefs off the coast of Thailand may yet be saved because of joint action by conservationists and villagers. A case in point is the village of Sikao in Trang province of southern Thailand where 50 families joined by villagers in 11 other Thai provinces are making a beginning at saving their reefs. To protect this priceless resource, they have taken to more sustainable fishing practices and now control local tourism, patrol their waters, and work with local authorities to keep trawlers at bay. "We try to show them that conservation is part of their lives," says Suraphol Sudara, the director of the Coral Reef and Seagrass Research Unit at the Bangkok-based Chulalongern University.

A similar story is being unveiled in other parts of south-east Asia too. In Apo island in central Visayas, the Philippines, villagers have practiced sustainable use of their reefs for the past decade and today manage their own marine park and tourism industry. Decision-makers and international funding institutions are only too happy to help out. Among those pitching in to help save the reefs of the region is the World Bank which is tying up its first coral reef loan project, a us $40 million stake in an Indonesian reef management programme.

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