• Photo credit: Khanchit Klingklip‎
  • Photo credit: Khanchit Klingklip‎

Authorities hunt for tourists handling sea creatures

national August 13, 2017 01:00

By Phuket Gazette

A Facebook user has drawn the attention of authorities in Phuket province to the possible illegal handling of sea creatures.

Khanchit Klingklip posted on his Facebook page photos of tourists handling various sea creatures, including starfish, off Racha Yai Island. The post read: “Again, destroying the property. Who caught it? Who is taking responsibility?”

Suchart Ratanruangsri, director of Marine Resources Conservation, said that staff have already been assigned to investigate the issues raised in the post. He said they were trying to track down the boat with the help of other tour boats in the area. He said the photos clearly identified the tour speedboats. Officials said the vessel doesn’t appear to have been one that came out of Chalong, the usual departure point for tour boats heading to Koh Racha Yai.

Suchart said tour boats and guides have been reminded about the rules concerning handling of sea creatures or coral, and tourists need to be reminded before they go swimming. The director said that if they could find the tour boat and the tourists, and if they were found to have brought any illegal “souvenirs” back from their boat trip, they would be charged under the laws that protect the marine parks.

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