Friday, 12 May 2017

Exciting Times in Koh Lanta

Yesterday, we at Mook Lanta Eco Resort, were lucky enough to have most of the Dive Centres on Lanta use our bar to discuss an exciting new project: Coral Propagation for Koh Lanta, which a few have been working on for some time.

Dive Centre Owners and Managers watching the Ocean Quest video
A video was shown to the owners and managers of the Dive Centres regarding the work Anuar Abdullah has been doing in Thailand and across Asia as a whole. Anuar is the CEO and Founder of Ocean Quest and is collaborating with Reef Guardian Thailand and the Department of National Parks in Thailand to set up projects with the local community to regenerate the coral in the surrounding seas.


Anuar gave an interesting speech after the video, he has been researching Coral Propagation for over 20 years and says he is frustrated that environmental research and money has focused on reporting the damage to the coral around the world, but very little focus, effort and money has been spent on how to fix it.

With a small amount of training, Coral Propagation is relatively easy to do. Anuar has been growing coral for nearly 20 years! He compares it to 'splicing' a tree and says with very little effort and a little knowledge, everyone can help to repair the oceans. He gave an example that at piece of coral, only 1cm in size can, with the right treatment and right conditions, grow to 15cm within 18 to 26 months. But Anuar says 3 special areas need to be created for this to be a success:

1. Nursery - An area where coral can be grown from small live parts of coral.
2. Hospital - An area where 'sick' coral can be quarantined, treated and helped to recover.
3. Home - An area where the new coral can call home.

Anuar and his team have successfully achieved this elsewhere in Asia, most notably Malaysia, and he is keen to start projects around Thailand.

Dive Centre Owners and Managers listening to Anuar Abdullah's Speech
So he is working with Koh Lanta Dive Centres and the Marine Park to train instructors to become Coral Propagation Trainers to enable them to train divers to help with this work. This could potentially mean that each dive centre has it's own trainer and maybe it's own area, that they monitor, manage and grow.

The enthusiam from the Dive Centres was palpable and the meeting was exciting to listen to. It costs 15,000 baht to train a trainer, but he, in turn, could train hundreds. All the Dive Centres fully supported the project and many were keen to take the next steps, as were we. Nick and I instantly agreed that we will sponsor a trainer on the island and we hope many other Resorts will follow suit. How incredible would it be for Koh Lanta to lead Thailand in Coral Propagation?

I am excited for the future, obviously we cannot repair the corals overnight, but we can stop the degradation and start building coral gardens for the future.

Big thank you to Anuar, for a very interesting talk, and all the Dive Centres who participated.

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