Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Make an Informed Choice

As an Eco Resort, we are continually looking at ways we can reduce our impact on the local community. Many of our customers ask us, whether some activities are good or bad and whilst we may have strong views on some activities, we do not feel it is our role to stop you having fun, but it is our role to provide you with information that will enable you to make a decision you are happy with.

Fishing Tours
I, Mellisa, can think of nothing worse than spending a day fishing! It is not a sport I enjoy but I have many family members who love it. You will notice that we do not have any leaflets regarding Fishing Tours at the resort. This is not because we disagree with fishing, but the tours we have seen and have been made aware of go to Koh Haa or Koh Rok. Both of these islands are within the Koh Lanta Marine Park and fishing is banned in these areas. You also may well be fishing where there are snorkellers and divers. This could cause an injury to them and ruin your chances of catching anything.

Fishing boat in Marine Park
If you want to go fishing, try to locate a tour operator that does not operate in illegal waters.

Eating Fish and Shark
You will see 2 main types of fishing here, that from a longtail (a traditional Thai fishing boat) and much larger boats trawling (use a very large net between 2 boats). The Longtail crews use a number of methods to catch fish, large nets, lines (with hooks on) and cages. The longtails, who are fishing here, are our local fisherman, so we do want to support them. However using large nets (especially those between the large boats), is indiscriminate and everything in the way of the net is captured and often the net gets snagged on coral, further damaging the marine life.
2 Trawler boats

Sharks receive a bad rap by the media, but the sharks we have in our waters here are not dangerous and, as an apex predator, are vital to marine population. Sharks take many years to reach sexual maturity and many shark species are endangered now because of the popularity of Shark Fin Soup. Shark Fin Soup is an Asian delicacy which is highly prized and hugely expensive. Because of this, many sharks are caught eat year, their fins removed and then the shark is thrown back to die.

Shark fins drying after a day's fishing
Please support our local fisherman (buy from the local stalls not the supermarkets) but please try to avoid eating endangered species, especially shark products. If you choose to not eat at a restaurant because they are selling Shark Fin Soup, tell the owner before you leave. If enough potential customers tell them the reason they are walking away, maybe they will change their menu.

Elephant Trekking
Almost every week I am asked by guest whether the elephants are treated well here and whether they should go on the Elephant Tours.

When I came to Lanta, one of the things I loved the most, was seeing an Elephant walking down the road to have a swim in the sea. This beautiful, gentle and majestic giant is magical up close and I admit I have ridden one in the past and I loved every minute of it. I have also been to an Elephant Sanctuary in Sri Lanka and seen the damage that we have done to these wonderful animals.

Many of the practises used by some Mahouts, to train the elephants are cruel and the Elephants are often chained by their ankles and kept in poor condition. Baby elephants are often taught silly tricks which demean this magnificent creature.

A year ago, we had a guest who worked for an International Wild Animal Welfare organisation. His role was to visit tour organisations that use wild animals and report back to the government of the country on ways to improve the treatment and care of animals. We took the opportunity to ask him about the elephants here. He said the ones that he had seen here were not, by any means, the worst treated he had seen, but they were, not at all, the best.

So if you really want to go Elephant Trekking, look into it carefully, research the tour company, maybe choose a well run sanctuary instead and before you pay, look at the animals.

Finally, help us to promote best practice on the island. Please provide us feedback on tours you have undertaken on the island and whether you saw good or bad practices. We take your feedback incredibly seriously and use this to recommend tours to other guests (remember we live here and very rarely participate in tours).

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