Thailand’s New Coral Reef


Sasha A. Murray , Staff Writer

In late January of this year, a new coral reef was discovered off the coast of Tahiti. The reef consisted of rose-shaped coral stretching to three kilometers in width with a troublesome depth of thirty five to seventy meters. Reefs are typically found in shallow waters, so the new depth posed a challenge for divers. A researcher for the French National Center for Scientific Research says that “exploring the reef will pose a challenge because the increasing vertical drop allots only a short amount of time that a diver can safely remain below the surface.“ Thus, the thirty five to seventy meter drop must have taken its strain on the divers, causing a more difficult recovery of data. 

Coral reefs are huge structures made out of limestone that consist of tiny individual corals, called polyps, which provide food and shelter for smaller marine organisms such as; fish, molluscs, sponges, and sea urchins. They are fascinatingly diverse, and play a vital role for the planet, yet reefs have unfortunately become endangered due to pollution, climate change, and unsustainable fishing. 

Knowing this, scientists plan to heavily analyze the new reef’s resilience to climate change and human activity through dives that are planned for the upcoming months. A vast majority of the damage caused to coral reefs is due to human involvement; from scuba diving to fishing, coral reefs provide endless activities for tourists to enjoy, which has caused a severe strain on the reefs.  According to a report by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Project, “between 2009 and 2020, 14% of the worlds corals were destroyed.” Though fourteen percent is not a mass amount of damage, 2009-2020 is a span of only eleven years, making those results pretty dreary. To minimize the damage and attempt to provide time for the reefs to recover, Thailand has closed off beaches such as the Maya Bay to all activity. Thus resulting in a longer than expected extension of the closing. According to the minister of Natural Resources and the Environment,“ the re-opening of the world-famous Thai beach, the Maya Bay, was postponed because of its overestimation in recovery, producing the unhopeful result of little to no change”.  

Nature does best uninterrupted, as seen with the extension for the reef recovery process. With that being said, completely backing off the reefs and leaving them alone seem to be the best solution, possibly permanently. The ocean is immeasurably vast and will never be completely studied. Plus, unless ocean creatures start to come on land, does it really need to be studied? One major factor in nature’s demise has been human involvement, meaning that removing human interaction would likely be the most beneficial option overall.