21 Jan '11, 9am

Thailand closes dive spots due to reef damage

Thailand closes dive spots due to reef damage

BANGKOK: Thailand has closed a host of popular dive sites to tourists indefinitely to allow coral reefs to recover from widespread bleaching caused by warmer sea temperatures, according to authorities. In total 18 areas in seven marine parks are off-limits, according to an order by the Thai National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department. "Diving in all the spots is to be halted indefinitely until the reef has fully recovered," said department official Songtham Suksawang on Friday. The ban, effective in seven of 26 marine parks, mainly covers sites in the Andaman Sea on the west coast. It also applies to snorkelling. Songtham said the authorities would limit the number of people visiting certain other reefs at the same time. Coral on Thailand's east and west coasts is thought to have been damaged by last year's unusually high sea temperatures caused by El Nino, a...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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