SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 106

in response to the coral bleaching event. IUCN will continue to support the work carried out by the government of Thailand in minimizing the impact of this global event,” said Mr Petch Manopawitr, Deputy Head of IUCN Southeast Asia Group.

DMCR and IUCN have been partners in conservation since 2002, working on numerous projects, including Mangroves for the Future (MFF), Mangrove and Markets (MAM), Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) and the Transboundary Dolphin Conservation project. Earlier this year, IUCN signed an MoU with DMCR to improve marine and coastal conservation in Thailand and to ensure that conservation and enforcement tools under the newly adopted Promotion of Marine and Coastal Resources Management Act are implemented for the benefits of coastal communities and ecosystems.

Temporary closure of reef areas

The coral bleaching response taskforce has proposed to close 32 sensitive reef areas temporarily to minimize human impacts and maximize protection of source areas = 15 of which are located in the Andaman Sea and 17 in the Gulf of Thailand.

These areas include famous diving sites such as the east coast of Mu Ko Similan National Park and Mu Ko Surin National Park in Phang Nga, Ko Yung and Ko Phai in Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park in Krabi, Ko Aew in Phuket and Ko Adang Rawi in Satun, Ko Talu in Prachuap Khiri Khan, and the northern part of Ko Pha-Ngan and Ko Samui in Surat Thani. The closure has been proposed for one year and further notice will be given after detailed monitoring has taken place.

Photo: Diverse and full of life coral reef within marine protected area at Simillian Islands (Thailand, Andaman Sea). Konstantin Tkachenko/Marine Photobank.