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Crystal Dive > News Archive > 2016 > October 16th
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Explore Koh Tao's artificial Reefs

 

The development and construction of artificial reefs has increased steadily over the last few years. Upwards of 25% of coral reefs worldwide have been destroyed over the last 20 years and the remaining reefs are threatened by a multitude of factors including; unsustainable fishing practices, pollution, tourism and the effects of climate change on ocean temperatures and acidification. The world's coral reefs have taken on an important part of global marine preservation.

What Are They?

 

Artificial Reefs are human made underwater structures, which are mostly built to provide marine life an area in which to live and thrive. Usually the reefs are placed in areas with a generally featureless bottom with lots of sand. Any solid object can be placed down to create a new reef as long as it is not harming the environment.

 

Koh Tao Diving - Artificial Reef

 

Locally, here on Koh Tao we have sunken toilets, domes, animal structures and pyramids as parts of our artificial reef structures, all of which provide a good substrate for coral to settle on and in time provide a nursery for marine life.

 

Artificial Reef Goals

 

The main aims of creating an artificial reef are:

 

Provide and alternative dive site for divers
To increase the coral reef /marine population in the local
Scientific research
An attraction for scuba divers
Provide an area for rehabilitation when damaged by human / natural causes
Create an artificial reproduction zone

 

The History of Artificial Reefs

 

The construction of artificial structures can be traced back many thousands of years to ancient Persians blocking the mouth of the river Tigris to prevent enemy ships from entering ports for raids. The Japanese have been building structures to attract fish for many hundreds of years.

 

They are determined to ensure they do not run out of sushi..!!

 

For the past thirty years’ countries such as USA, Canada, Australia and more recently Thailand have been placing various objects underwater, such as decommissioned naval vessels in order to attract scuba divers.

 

Developing Reefs

 

Generally, the objects placed underwater, whether self-built, or in the case of sunken naval boats already constructed, provide a hard surface which over time will be colonized by underwater marine and plant life.

 

To help populate developing reefs we gather small broken pieces of coral which may have been broken due to irresponsible or poor scuba diving techniques, boat or anchor damage or perhaps storm damage. These pieces would normally roll and around in the sand and die.

 

By securing these fragments using different techniques, they stand a much better chance of surviving, creating a suitable home for marine life and with time an alternative site for divers to enjoy.

 

Biorock

 

When constructing an artificial reef aimed at generating coral you can assist in the structural development by applying a low voltage current. Commonly known as Biorock, the process involves applying a low voltage current through a metal based structure which encourages limestone to form to which Coral Planulae attaches itself.

 

Koh Tao Biorock

 

Once attached the current then speeds up the growth of the coral at a faster rate than it would naturally form.

 

Koh Tao's Artificial Reefs

 

Artificial reefs have been a feature of Koh Tao's underwater environment for just over a decade in which time we have seen the number steadily increase. Hin Fai, Buoyancy World, Junkyard Reef, HTMS Sattakut, Aow Mao and MV Trident offer some great dive sites and important structures to preserve the marine habitats around our island.

 

Biorock

 

Located just off the north west coast of Koh Tao facing Koh Nang Yuan, the Save Koh Tao group implemented our very own artificial reef using electrolysis to encourage coral growth, named 'Hin Fai' (which translates to 'electric rock' from Thai). We have seen great development in the corals which in turn have increased the bio diversity of the site itself.

 

Koh Tao Biorock

 

Another Biorock has also been recently deployed at Aow Leuk.

 

HTMS Sattakut

 

The HTMS Sattakut is an old Navy ship which was donated to Koh Tao by the Thai Navy for use in creating a site which would provide a training site for the Wreck speciality course and also encourage a new area in which marine life could thrive.

 

Koh Tao Wreck Dive

 

This has quickly become one of the most popular dive sites for Advanced Open Water divers due to the deep depth with the site attracting a variety of marine life.

 

Junkyard Reef

 

This site was originally created by Crystal Dive and Eco Koh Tao in 2009.Lying 400 metres off the Mae Haad beach in what was a shallow barren part of sand. Years later and with much work from Crystal Dive's dedicated in house conservation and environmental team, Junkyard is now a thriving reef.

 

Koh Tao - Artificial Reef

 

Named Junkyard Reef because the original objects were basically just junk lying around close to Crystal Dive itself, the toilets, car and tables have become home to many different species of fish. This area has also become an important coral nursery with many structures being placed down with the purpose to hold nurseries.

 

Koh Tao Coral Nursery

 

In 2010 the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMRC), in conjunction with the Prince of Songkla University started an 'Adopt a Reef' program here on Koh Tao. The objective was to increase the size and scope of Coral Nurseries around the island and they donated 48 Coral Nursery Tables to which Crystal Dive and Eco Koh Tao maintain tables at both Twin Peaks and Junkyard (Pictured)

 

Buoyancy World

 

An Island wide project which has seen most dive centres on the island come together to create a new site just to the North of the Twins dive site. The idea was to create an area to improve bio diversity and also a training site for student divers to help improve their buoyancy with the added benefit of reducing damage to the natural reef to the South.

 

Koh Tao - Artificial Reef

 

A hugely popular site for beginner divers Buoyancy World features concrete structures such as a shark, octopus, lizard, the Crystal Wreck, Mangrove Forest, Sea Urchins and many others.

 

Aow Mao

 

Blocks donated by the DMCR to create an artificial are just one of the many artificial reefs that have been deployed. These prove a hiding place for fish, new substrate for coral to settle on and a perfect place for people to practice their buoyancy skill.

 

Author: Jenny Dowling (Eco Koh Tao)

 

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..October 2016

 

Choosing The Right Mask
"Buying your own mask will probably be the first diving equipment purchase you make and one of the most important...."
31-10-2016
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My Journey to Become A Divemaster
"Being a Divemaster is hard work, but the satisfaction that comes at the end of each day cannot be rivalled with any other job...."
28-10-2016
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Flip-Flops
"When referring to 'wearing shoes on Koh Tao', you would be talking about wearing flip flops or some sort of sandal...."
26-10-2016
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Koh Tao's Artificial Reefs
"Artificial Reefs are human made structures, which are mostly built to provide marine life an area in which to live...."
16-10-2016
.
6 'Must Do' Things
"What challenges can you set yourself now you have mastered the basics of scuba diving and tried your first adventures?...."
09-10-2016
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full News Archive >>>

 

 

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CRYSTAL DIVE
7/1 Moo 2, Koh Tao, 84360, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0)77 456106 | +66 (0)77 456107
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