Fishermen have discovered a new jewel for the Andaman diving crown – a coral reef about 9 km west of Kho Khao Island in the Phang Nga region north of Phuket.
“We found mostly encrusting corals, tabulate corals, several species of fish and four or five octopi,” said a coral researcher from the Phuket Marine Biological Center who investigated the claim earlier this week. Mr Chaimongkhol went on to say “The reef’s fertility is average” and “very attractive for diving in general”.
Flourishing 21m below the surface and stretching over virtually 9 km2, the bounty of this new discovery will be easily accessible to divers of all skill levels whether filling in between liveaboard holidays, or choosing a day trip boat from Phuket.
The locals have been galvanised into action by the find, launching the ‘Nemo Returns’ project. Gaining the support of the Department of Fisheries, the Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation Department and the Phang Nga Tourist Association, the project is planning coastal cleanups and will be adding marine life to enhance divers’ enjoyment of the reef. One can but wonder if that will include clownfish.
The ultimate aim is to attract tourists to Phang Nga’s coast from the many popular dive spots in the area, including the original jewel of the Andaman Sea: the Similan Islands.
Source: Phuket Gazette