New Heaven Reef Conservation
Eco Koh Tao is lead by some of the most knowledgeable marine educators on the island, and they are often described as the most experienced marine conservation team in Asia. So anyone with a passion for learning more about the environment and how to protect it need look no further than Eco Koh Tao for advice and information. With over a decade of experience working on environmental projects on Koh Tao, program leaders Jennifer and Simon Dowling have an unrivalled insight into Koh Tao’s ecosystem and its health, biodiversity, and threats.
Eco Koh Tao marine conservation projects include:
- Coral Restoration – over the years, Eco Koh Tao have custom-built their own coral nurseries. So they regularly go out diving with the sole purpose of collecting small coral fragments that would otherwise die. From here they are transplanted, rehabilitated, and moved back onto the natural reef.
- Adopt A Coral Program– since 2017, Eco Koh Tao has offered the option for anyone (divers and non-divers alike) to sponsor a coral transplant, helping raise valuable funds to continue coral restoration projects.
- Artificial Reefs – Artificial reefs are a great way of alleviating pressure from busy dive sites. The Eco Koh Tao team built Junkyard Reef back in 2010, and are continually adding more structures.
- Reef Surveys – Official reef check surveys are vital in assessing the health of coral reef structures. Eco Koh Tao offers Reef Check Eco Diver Courses, allowing divers to participate in surveys worldwide.
- Microplastic Surveys – working in partnership with The Big Microplastic Survey project, Eco Koh Tao collect sand samples and examine them for various microplastic contents. The results are recorded and sent back to The Big Microplastic survey headquarters to help compile global data.
- Clean Ups – land and sea cleanups are an integral part of stopping the flow of plastics and other pollutants from entering the marine environment. The team runs regular beach and dive site cleanups, collecting data for various environmental agencies in the process.
- Biorock – developing artificial dive site structures and running an electrical current through them can help coral grow up to 5 times faster than usual. Since Koh Tao’s Biorock dive site was first submerged and activated in 2008, the Eco Koh Tao team have been transplanting sections of vulnerable and broken coral onto the structure for rehabilitation.
- Water Testing – it goes without saying that water quality is paramount to the health of the reef and its inhabitants. Eco Koh Tao takes regular water samples and checks levels of PH, nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and turbidity.
- Mooring Buoy Installation – the crew assists with various mooring installation projects, providing boats with a better option than dropping anchor over precious corals.
- Net Removal – fishing nets snagged and caught on pinnacles are deadly to marine life. The Eco Koh Tao team is always on hand to assist with the removal of nets.
Aside from being involved with multiple surveys and community projects, the teaching team at Eco Koh Tao run several marine conservation courses that can be completed in as little as 4-6 days. They also offer marine conservation internships ranging from 2 weeks to 6 months in length. The goal of any Eco Koh Tao program is to create and develop divers who see the underwater world in a different light and become more heavily involved in its protection and conservation – all the while having fun and learning lots about the amazing realm beneath the surface.