Sharks and tourists share Maya Bay
published : 28 Mar 2023 at 14:49
writer: Gary Boyle
ORIGINAL SOURCE/WRITER: Reuters
Every day in Krabi's Maya Bay, up to 40 blacktip reef sharks swim in the sea while about 4,000 tourists visit its white-sand beach.
Shark numbers have improved since most driven from the bay by tour boats and tourists keen to see the spot that was made famous as the set of Leonardo Di Caprio's 2000 film "The Beach".
The sharks returned after a tourism ban and the Covid-19 pandemic between 2018 and 2022 halted all visitors to the bay.
Authorities allowed limited tourism to resume in 2022, and now conservationists say shark numbers are falling again, leaving Maya Bay struggling to strike a balance between preserving its ecosystem and sustaining livelihoods with tourism.
The Maya Shark Watch Project uses underwater cameras and drones to count sharks and observe their behaviour, feeding areas, and breeding patterns. In the year between November 2021 and the end of 2022 it saw decrease in the number of sharks as tourists returned.
Several factors affect the sharks around Phi Phi Leh Island, including seasonal movement patterns and human activity like fishing, the project team said.
Under pressure from tour operators, authorities reopened Maya Bay in January 2022 but with some restrictions.
Tour boats must dock on the other side of the island from the beach; visitors must walk to the beach; the number of visitors allowed every hour is capped at 375, and they are allowed to go only knee-deep into the water.
- authority (noun): a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
- ban: an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม
- behaviour: the way that someone acts or behaves - พฤติกรรม, การกระทำตัว
- breeding: the producing of young animals, plants, etc - การผสมพันธุ์สัตว์เพื่อขยายพันธุ์
- cap: to have an upper limit; to have an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed - มีขีดสูงสุด
- conservationist: a person who takes an active part in the protection of the environment - นักอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ
- dock (verb): to arrive at an enclosed area of water in a port, where ships stay; to stop a boat at a landing point such as a pier - จอดเรือ, เทียบท่า
- ecosystem: all the plants and animals in a particular area, considered as a system with parts that depend on one another - ระบบที่เกิดจากความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างสิ่งมีชีวิตและสิ่งแวดล้อม
- keen: very interested in an activity - สนใจอย่างยิ่ง
- livelihood: (the way someone earns) the money people need to pay for food, a place to live, clothing, etc - การดำรงชีวิต, การครองชีพ
- restriction: a rule, action or situation that limits or controls someone or something - การจำกัด, การควบคุม
- resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - ดำเนินต่อไปใหม่, กลับมาอีกครั้ง
- seasonal: typical of or suitable for the time of year - ตามฤดูกาล
- set: a place where a play is performed or part of a film/movie is filmed - ฉาก
- struggle (verb): to try hard to do something that you find very difficult - พยายาม; ต่อสู้
- sustain: to keep; to continue - รักษาไว้