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They repair coral reefs using... super glue!

The world-famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island, Thailand, was closed to visitors after its beautiful coral reefs were destroyed by boats and the local wildlife suffered massive degradation. Since then, experts and volunteers have been working diligently to restore the bay to its former glory, and perhaps no one expected that the main tool
Published: May 19, 2019 - 16:10
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:13
They repair coral reefs using… super glue!

The world-famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island, Thailand, was closed to visitors after its beautiful coral reefs were destroyed by boats and the local wildlife suffered massive degradation. Since then, experts and volunteers have been working diligently to restore the bay to its former glory, and perhaps no one expected that the main tool in regenerating the reef would become… super glue!

The scientists used an unusual method. They took dead reef pieces and placed them back on the rocks to grow again. The coral is initially attached to the new rock with glue, but after a week it is stable enough to grow well on its own and the glue dissolves.

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Swedish photographer Magnus Larsson, who has lived in Thailand for ten years, captured the first images of the work being done in the waters of Maya Bay.

[blockquote style=”2″]”I have been to Maya Bay every week since about 2009. I always loved the beauty of the beach and bay, but it was never a fully enjoyable experience. All because the place, was very overcrowded with people. You couldn’t see anything because of all the boats, and the beach itself was always full of people. As soon as I heard about the ongoing project, I wanted to come and document everything.” – said Larsson [/blockquote].

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Maya Bay is located on the Andaman Sea and was closed to visitors in May 2018. After reopening, the number of visitors is limited to 2,000 per day, which is about half the number of visitors before the closure. Thailand had around 35 million foreign visitors last year, a fivefold increase in just over two decades.

The authorities welcome tourists and the dollars they leave when they visit, but also acknowledge that they now have to strike a balance between profit and protecting local wildlife.

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[blockquote style=”2″]”As far as I know, no one has tried to document the reef revitalisation work before. These are actually the first photographs of the process of Maya Bay’s rebirth. As a practically lifelong diver and a photographer and admirer of marine life, I was very saddened to see the degradation of the corals here. They are the backbone of the ecosystem, so if they disappear, everything else will die with them.” [/blockquote]

Many national parks in Thailand are closed from mid-May to mid-October, during the monsoon season. But due to the popularity of Maya Bay, there hasn’t been a break since 1999, when a Hollywood crew landed here to film the dark tale ‘Heavenly Beach’, based on Alex Garland’s novel.

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[blockquote style=”2″]”Corals provide food and shelter for many species of marine life, so when corals are healthy, marine life will flourish. I mean fish, but also octopuses and turtles which will definitely come back. I think the bay will have to remain closed for about four years for the whole restoration process to take place.” [/blockquote]

Environmentalists say the waters, which until recently were devoid of fish, are now teeming with representatives of marine fauna, and one island already has 10,000 square metres of freshly recovered coral.

Source: metro.co.uk

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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