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05/08/2010 - New protection for Phuket coastline suprises officials  05/08/2010 - New protection for Phuket coastline suprises officials

New regulations governing Phuket’s coastal regions have been introduced, making Phuket a special marine environmental zone with immediate effect.

The document contains fourteen new regulations restricting marina activities in certain areas of Phuket and for the first time, land areas on Phuket are defined because of their effect on the nearby sea, which means future property sales may be affected by the zoning.

The new rules, drawn up by the Office of Natural Resources and Environment Policy and Planning, have come as a huge surprise to many local officials.

When asked for a comment, Vice Governor, Tree Akaradate said; "Please give us a chance to read the document [about 200 pages] before we have to implement it."

Khun Phuripat, Phuket Marine Transport Chief, said: "This is a big, important issue. Phuket's future is at stake. We really need to discuss this zone by zone."

The area affected by the new rulings includes a rectangle from 22 kilometres off the high tide mark to the east and the west of Phuket, extending south to include Racha Noi. The areas covered are separated into new coloured zones depending on the location.

These are:

Red for coral reefs

Green for natural parks

Blue for water quality protection areas

Large areas off Mai Khao, Layan, Nai Yang and Nai Thon Beaches have also been classified as natural sea parks.

Both Phuket and Krabi are affected by the new regulations but Phuket will have fourteen new protected zones compared to only three in Krabi.

Regulations protecting the coast lines and seas around Phuket are revised every two years, however, enforcement of the rules still continues to be a problem.

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