Managing blacktip reef sharks in Maya Bay, Thailand

The National Parks Department of Thailand goals to boost the management of the country’s popular vacationer conservation areas following the return of blacktip reef sharks to Maya Bay.
Maya Bay 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 film The Beach, featuring Leonardo Di Caprio, which attracted a lot of guests to the picturesque location, inadvertently damaging much of the island’s marine life.
Effortless of Maya Bay helped enhance conservation efforts, however there’s a threat of it being destroyed once once more. According to Reuters, as much as forty blacktip reef sharks swim within the turquoise shallows while roughly 4,000 tourists visit the white-sand seashore surrounded by towering cliffs every day.
The variety of sharks has elevated for the explanation that influx of tour boats and vacationers triggered almost each final one to go away the bay. Limited tourism resumed in 2022, but conservationists warn that shark numbers are declining as soon as again, making it difficult for Maya Bay to strike a stability between preserving a pristine ecosystem and sustaining the livelihoods of those who depend upon tourism.
Petch Manopawitr, a marine advisor to Thailand’s National Parks Department, said…
“We don’t speak about closing down all over the place or decreasing the tourism numbers, however I think we are speaking about managing it wisely.”

But with the number of sharks already dwindling, authorities and conservationists are intent on maintaining vacationers from swimming within the bay and driving away the baby sharks, which cover in the shallows and coral reefs from cannibalistic adults.
Maya Bay is positioned on Phi Phi Leh Island, a small limestone island coated in lush greenery, situated within the Andaman Sea off the western coast of Thailand.
Marine researcher Metavee Chuangcharoendee said that the island has turn out to be a nursery for younger sharks once once more, because of the hiatus in tourism.
Metavee and other researchers on the Maya Shark Watch Project use underwater cameras and drones to watch the behaviour, feeding areas, and breeding patterns of sharks.
Between November 2021, after they launched a pilot examine, and the top of 2022, they noticed a decline in shark numbers as tourists started to return. Blacktip reef sharks, named after the black colouration on their dorsal fins and tails, roam the Andaman Sea and other tropical areas however their numbers are reducing as a end result of overfishing, in accordance with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
There are a number of elements that impact the sharks round Phi Phi Leh Island, including seasonal movement patterns and human activities like fishing.
Metavee talked about that with the shark population already declining, authorities and conservationists should prevent vacationers from swimming within the bay and disturbing the infant sharks that seek refuge in the shallows and coral reefs away from the predatory adults.
“We are hoping that with the restrictions in place, we will mitigate the disturbance to (the sharks). We are doing this research in hopes that we are ready to find the finest way to handle and one of the best ways for tourism and the setting to coexist.”

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