Mu Koh Chang Coral Reef Demonstration Site: Lessons Learned and Challenges

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1 Mu Koh Chang Coral Reef Demonstration Site: Lessons Learned and Challenges Thamasak Yeemin, Sittiporn Pengsakun, Chaipichit Saenghaisuk, Wanlaya Klinthong, Makamas Sutthacheep Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Faculty of Science Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand Association of Marine Biodiversity Conservation and Education, Thailand

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3 Background located in Trat Province, the eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand comprises of 60 islands, approximately 16 km 2 of coral reef area declared as a national park in 1982 established as a special administrative zone for sustainable tourism development since 2002 selected as one of the demonstration sites for coral reef subcomponent under The UNEP/GEF Project on Reversing Environmental Degradation Trends in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand

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5 Threats on Coral Reefs sedimentation from infrastructure development impacts from expansion of tourism business unskilled divers illegal fishing

6 Threats on Coral Reefs Storms Coral predators Coral Diseases Coral bleaching

7 Causal Chain Analysis

8 Causal Chain Analysis: Root Causes lack of awareness greed lack of ecological knowledge failure of coordination among institutions inappropriate tourism management inadequate numbers of government staff, researcher and site manager for coral reef management inefficient law enforcement poverty degradation from natural disturbances

9 Activities 1. Public awareness and education Producing brochures, posters and permanent notice boards for raising awareness on coral reefs. Training courses of marine ecosystem and its sustainable utilization for local students, tour guides, tourism businessmen and local communities. Broadcasting knowledge of coral reef ecosystem on local radio and television and web site. Producing coral reef ecosystem conservation handbook for schools, universities, local libraries, stakeholders and involved institutions. Developing education media on biodiversity and distribute them to schools and communities.

10 2. Networking among agencies Establishing networks for coordination between government institutions and local communities. Establishing the mooring buoy committee to manage all mooring buoys. Meeting or seminar among NGOs for cooperation of resource management including publishing newsletters. Establishing international coral reef information network for exchange marine biodiversity data.

11 3. Sustainable tourism development Study carrying capacity for tourists. Diving trails including underwater notes on coral reef organisms. Establishing local guide center and encourage local guide activities. Installation of additional mooring buoys. Academic supports for local communities and private sector to encourage public participation for coral reef management and conservation for ecotourism. Encouraging local people and tourism organization to clean up coral reefs. Study to determine tourist fee for coral reef management purposes.

12 4. Capacity Building Training for coral reef protection volunteer groups. Establishing networks between coral protection volunteer groups and government agencies for patrolling. Training the trainers for local communities. Encouraging research fund and study visit for coral reef management to researchers, government officers and NGOs.

13 5. Sustainable livelihoods Training of alternative livelihood for illegal fishermen (e.g. mariculture). Socio-economic study in local communities that use coral reef as a fishing ground. Publish and distribute information concerning fisheries and coral reef conservation. Encourage establishing artificial reefs.

14 6. Improvement of site management to support coral reef rehabilitation Monitoring coral reef conditions (ecological and socio-economics aspects) and mapping additional coral reef areas. Demonstration project of coral reef restoration by using coral fragments and natural recruitment. Monitor and control land-based pollution. Training and assign particular staff from relevant agencies to research on coastal development. Build-up coral reef and marine organism database by using GIS. Support researches on mariculture of economically important marine organisms.

15 Development of a sustainable ecotourism program Outcome Growth of sustainable ecotourism, adequate income of local tour guides Activities - Carrying capacity study for tourism in Mu Koh Chang - Study to determine tourist fee for coral reef management purposes - Establishment of Local Guide Centre - Demonstration project of coral reef restoration - An underwater snorkeling trail - Installation of additional mooring buoys

16 Carrying capacity study for tourism in Mu Koh Chang A Study at Koh Yak Lek -Physical Carrying Capacity 128 tourists at one time -Facility Carrying Capacity 212 tourists at one time 6 boats or 18 speed boats at one time -Psychological Carrying Capacity 204 tourists at one time - Ecological Carrying Capacity Limit of Acceptable Change (LAC)

17 Study to determine tourist fee for coral reef management purposes If the Park increases its entrance fee to Baht per visit, would you still choose to come to Ko Chang? - Employed CVM (contingent valuation methods : technique that allows the value of environmental goods and services to be estimated by asking people directly ) to determine an entrance fee for visiting reef sites at Koh Chang National Park. - a visitor s willingness to pay the entrance fee was estimated as Baht per visit. - An economic valuation of the benefits of coral reefs can provide information for the design of coastal area management plans.

18 Establishment of Local Guide Centre - Supports of the Local Guide Centre - Small fishing boat tours to coral reefs and mangrove areas, also local fishing folk ways -Increasing local fishermen income -Improvement of awareness on coral reef conservation for all members

19 Outcome: - Growth of sustainable ecotourism - Adequate income of local tour guides

20 Klong Son Fishing Trips

21 Demonstration project of coral reef restoration - Benefit for ecotourism, education, raising public awareness, ecosystem restoration and research. - Involvement of Local communities, government agencies, private sector and NGOs. - Natural coral fragments were used in order to increase the survival of natural coral fragments. - Providing artificial substrates for coral recruitment.

22 Key ideas: - Limited demonstration areas where they can be easily controlled and managed for the benefit of ecotourism, education, raising public awareness, ecosystem restoration and research - Natural coral fragments were used in order to increase the survival of natural coral fragments that might otherwise have had low survival because they were susceptible to being buried. - Techniques and methods used in this project were kept simple, use cheap materials available in local areas and providing hard substrate for coral recruitment.

23 An underwater snorkeling trail with underwater notes on coral reef organisms and best practices for snorkelers

24 Snorkeling Trail - Control behavior of divers - Dispersion of divers - Determining appropriate diving route, such as over two meters in depth - Recreation + Education + Raising Public Awareness

25 Installation of mooring buoys -Installation of mooring buoys were conducted by co-operation of Mu Koh Chang National Park, local diving operators, local fishermen, universities and NGOs with supports of UNEP / GEF / SCS Mu Koh Chang Demonstration Site -Established a mooring buoy committee to decide setting plans, control and maintain mooring buoys for long term uses.

26 Institutions involved in management of Mu Koh Chang Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) Mu Koh Chang National Park Trat Province Office UNEP GEF SCS Mu Koh Chang Demonstration Site Mu Koh Chang Thailand Research Fund Tourism Authority of Thailand

27 Lessons learned and recommendations Encouraging local people and tourism organizations to clean up coral reefs was successfully carried out for cleaning the reefs and raising public awareness on coral reef conservation. Several coral reef restoration projects have been conducted however the high cost and limited scale of restoration puts the onus on government and communities to prevent damage to coral reefs in the first place. The local administrative organization, the Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Public Organization), the provincial governor, the resort owners and the government policy have to play major roles to control land-based pollution and implement pollution monitoring programs.

28 Lessons learned and recommendations The ecological and socio-economic monitoring programs should be appropriately planned and implemented. Encouraging coordination among government agencies, private sector, NGOs, and local communities during planning, operation and evaluation phases to strengthen co-management of all activities in the area and to reduce any obstacles of the project implementation are very crucial.

29 Lessons learned and recommendations Management of diving behavior is very important. Establishing diving trails at particular sites is an effective tool to reduce diving impacts on coral reefs. Establishing a local guide center and encouraging local guide activities play a major role for raising public awareness and reduce impacts from tourists. A mooring buoy committee should be established from representatives of relevant stakeholders. The mooring buoy installation can be a significant tool for systemization of diving activities.

30 Lesson learned and recommendation The provincial governor (chief executive officer) can establish a special committee for coral reef conservation. Mu Koh Chang Demonstration Site for coral reef subcomponent under the UNEP/GEF Project on Reversing Environmental Degradation Trends in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand provides a good opportunity for information exchanges and transferring lessons learned to other sites.

31 Good practices Coral reef management plan in Trat Province Financial sustainability of the activities

32 Good practices Dissemination of Experience on Sound Scientific Information for Tourism Development Mu Koh Chang Coral Reef Demonstration Site

33 Good practices Dissemination of Experience on Sound Scientific Information for Tourism Development Mu Koh Chang Coral Reef Demonstration Site

34 Marine Biodiversity Research Group, Ramkhamhaeng University, Bangkok 10240,THAILAND Tel/Fax:

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