Managing blacktip reef sharks in Maya Bay, Thailand

The National Parks Department of Thailand goals to boost the management of the country’s in style vacationer conservation areas following the return of blacktip reef sharks to Maya Bay.
Track record was closed for four years, from 2018 to 2022, to facilitate the restoration of the island’s wildlife. The bay’s reputation surged after the discharge of the 2000 movie The Beach, featuring Leonardo Di Caprio, which attracted a lot of visitors to the picturesque location, inadvertently damaging much of the island’s marine life.
The closure of Maya Bay helped improve conservation efforts, but there is a threat of it being destroyed as soon as once more. According to Reuters, up to forty blacktip reef sharks swim in the turquoise shallows while approximately 4,000 tourists visit the white-sand seaside surrounded by towering cliffs every day.
The number of sharks has elevated because the inflow of tour boats and tourists triggered virtually each last one to go away the bay. Limited tourism resumed in 2022, but conservationists warn that shark numbers are declining once once more, making it difficult for Maya Bay to strike a stability between preserving a pristine ecosystem and sustaining the livelihoods of those that depend upon tourism.
Petch Manopawitr, a marine advisor to Thailand’s National Parks Department, said…
“We don’t discuss closing down in all places or reducing the tourism numbers, however I assume we are talking about managing it correctly.”

But with the number of sharks already dwindling, authorities and conservationists are intent on maintaining tourists from swimming within the bay and driving away the child sharks, which cover within the shallows and coral reefs from cannibalistic adults.
Maya Bay is situated on Phi Phi Leh Island, a small limestone island lined in lush greenery, situated within the Andaman Sea off the western coast of Thailand.
Marine researcher Metavee Chuangcharoendee stated that the island has become a nursery for young sharks as quickly as again, thanks to the hiatus in tourism.
Metavee and other researchers at the Maya Shark Watch Project use underwater cameras and drones to observe the behaviour, feeding areas, and breeding patterns of sharks.
Between November 2021, after they launched a pilot study, and the tip of 2022, they observed a decline in shark numbers as tourists began to return. Blacktip reef sharks, named after the black colouration on their dorsal fins and tails, roam the Andaman Sea and different tropical areas however their numbers are decreasing because of overfishing, based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are several components that impact the sharks around Phi Phi Leh Island, together with seasonal motion patterns and human activities like fishing.
Metavee mentioned that with the shark population already declining, authorities and conservationists must forestall tourists from swimming within the bay and disturbing the child sharks that search refuge in the shallows and coral reefs away from the predatory adults.
“We are hoping that with the restrictions in place, we can mitigate the disturbance to (the sharks). We are doing this analysis in hopes that we are able to discover the best way to handle and the finest way for tourism and the setting to coexist.”

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