The Koh Tao Adopt-A Reef Program
In 2010, Koh Tao experienced one of the worst mass coral bleaching events since 1998, with up to 68% of the corals dying in some of the shallow bays. In response to this event, on of the management options employed by the local community was the Adopt-A-Reef program, which was headed by Chad Scott of Save Koh Tao/the NHRCP and Ajran Sakanan Platong of the Prince of Songkla University. The project was also supported by the local government and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Through this program, the ‘common good’ which are the reefs of Koh Tao can be protected by giving responsibility of these sites to local stakeholders. Local dive centers were asked to volunteer to ‘Adopt’ a reef site around the island and fulfill the following monthly responsibilities/roles for that site:
- Act as a representative and point of contact for the maintenance of the site or reporting any problems
- Perform regular clean-ups at the site
- perform regular EMP reef surveys at the site
- Perform regular coral predator removal projects (COTS, Drupella snails, etc) when warranted
- Maintain coral nurseries and artificial reefs in the site, when warranted
- Inspect and maintain any mooring lines at the site.
- Provide regular updates about the site to the Save Koh Tao Marine Branch
In 2010, the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program signed up to take care of two sites, Chalok Ban Kao and Ao Leuk Bay. Following the closure of BlackTip divers in Tantoe Bay, New Heaven also took over that site. Today we consider four locations to be our responsibility: Chalok Ban Kao, Ao Leuk, Tanote Bay, and Tien Og Bay. We regularly visit these areas and fulfill the responsibilities we signed up for, despite the Save Koh Tao Community Group going on hiatus in early 2014.
What have we done so far?
- Conducted 221 Ecological Monitoring Program reef surveys at these sites (2006-July 2014)
- Deployed over 51 artificial reef structures and over 200 bottle reef modules at the sites (2008-July 2014)
- Performed regular reef clean-ups at the sites 2006-present
- Removed tens of thousands of Drupella Snails and nearly 100 Crown of Thorns Starfish from the areas (2010-July 2014)
How to help?
There are two ways you can directly support our efforts to manage and maintain our adopt-a-reef sites:
- Enroll in one of our marine conservation courses to get trained in the techniques and theory, participate in our on-going projects, and contribute to the funding of our program.
- Donate to our Reef Conservation Program to help support the costs of materials and equipment for our Adopt-a-Reef program.