Unregulated tourist activities are threatening coral reefs in islands near Koh Pan-ngan

Coral reefs around Koh Ma or Ma Island in Koh Pha-ngan district of Surat Thani and Koh Mudsoom or Mudsoom Island in Koh Samui district of the same province are in danger of total destruction from careless tourists and tour operators.

On Sunday, troops from the 4th army region were sent to Mae Haad bay in Koh Pha-ngan district to investigate complaints some tour operators had taken a group of Chinese tourists in speed boats to Koh Ma to explore shallow-water coral reefs around the island.

The boats dropped anchor on the coral reefs and let their tourists to walk on the reefs without warning them that they could damage the corals.

Broken corals have been washed ashore on Mae Haad beach. Garbage littered by visiting tourists have also been reported scattering around Koh Ma.

Meanwhile in Koh Mudsoom, Mr Surapong Viriyanont, a tour operator in Koh Samui district, has lodged a complaint to the local media accusing an Italian businessman of bringing Quadski or amphibious jet ski from Koh Samui to Koh Mudsoom which is rich with coral reefs.

He alleged that the Quadski was put into rental service without prior permission from authorities concerned and the vehicle could endanger corals around the island.