Coral reef by Tim Nicholson

Thailand has closed Koh Tachai, an island north of the Similans, to tourists and divers says the Bangkok Post.

The closure is part of a plan to manage the marine resources of the Andaman Sea which is to the west of Thailand.

All 17 marine national parks in the Andaman Sea will be closed from next Monday to Saturday 15 Oct during the monsoon season – that’s over 60% of coral reefs. But even after the rest re-open, Koh Tachai will remain off-limits.

“We have to close it to allow the rehabilitation of the environment both on the island and in the sea without being disturbed by tourism activities before the damage is beyond repair,” commented Tunya Netithammakul, director genneral of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation.

Prof Thon Thamrongnawasawat of Kasetsart University told the Post “Koh Tachai is preserved as a primitive zone, not a tourist site. A beach on the island can hold up to 70 people. But sometimes the number of tourists was well over 1,000 on the beach, which was already crowded with food stalls and tour boats. This caused the island to quickly deteriorate. If it’s not closed now, we’ll lose Koh Tachai permanently.

Koh Tachai the most northernly part of the Similans marine national park but is outside the main nine islands that make up the Similans archipelago.

The diving is very good around Koh Tachai – divers welcomed the Thai authorities attempts to protect the marine life and the island.

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