Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto on Tuesday urged related agencies and locals to take measures to protect rare aquatic animals after a nine-day marine survey was conducted in Gulf of Thailand waters.
The governor made his comments after the Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre (Central Gulf of Thailand) conducted an aerial survey of rare aquatic animals covering 169.7 square kilometres off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Chumphon that wrapped up on Sunday.
The survey spotted a dugong, two Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins and four green turtles in Phumriang Bay in Chaiya district of Surat Thani, as well as three green turtles in the coastal area in Tha Chana district of Surat Thani.
But none were sighted in Talet Bay in Khanom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat or Thungka-Sawi Bay in Sawi district of Chumphon.
The research centre will analyse the information to learn more about their population and habitats.
Mr Wichawut said since rare aquatic animals were spotted in Phumriang Bay and the coastal area in Tha Chana district, he urged cooperation from locals and fishermen to help protect these rare species, particularly dugongs.
"They are in big trouble as these marine mammals usually live in a herd, but now we see only one dugong in the area," he added.