32 diving spots closed temporarily to facilitate sea temperature checks

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A total of 32 diving spots in the Gulf and the Andaman Sea have been ordered closed to divers temporarily to allow officials to check the sea temperatures for fear that sea warming may lead to coral bleaching.

The temporary closure of the diving spots – 15 in the Andaman Sea and 17 in the Gulf – was ordered by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

An official of the Nopparatthara-Phi Phi Islands National Park in Krabi province said the sea temperature at the depth of 1.3 metre in the vicinity of Koh Mai Phai in Tambon Ao Nang was measured at an average of 29.2 Celsius while the sea temperature near Koh Hong in Tarnboke Khoranee national park in Tambon Khao Thong was measured at 31 Celsius.

Mr Sarayuth Tanthien, chief of Nopparatthara-Phi Phi Islands National Park, said that there were concerns that the sea warming might cause coral bleaching like the one 11 years ago which caused extensive damage to shallow corals.