‘No cause for alarm’ at Richelieu Rock

‘No cause for alarm’ at Richelieu Rock

Social-media rumours of the destruction of Richelieu Rock, the world-famous coral-reef dive-site in Thailand’s Mu Koh Surin National Park in the Andaman Sea, appear to have been alarmist.

Footage of dead fish and damaged corals posted by a diver on Facebook late last week were accompanied by speculation that illegal dynamite fishing had taken place, killing as many as a million marine animals.

After many hits, the cause was taken up by marine biologists and conservationists, calling for action to be taken against the culprits.

However, when a dive-team from the Marine National Park Operation Centre inspected the site they reported finding no evidence to support the claims.

The divers inspected the site to 30m deep and said they found young and fertile corals, many fish species and no signs of explosive damage. The site is subject to patrols.

Thai diving instructor Aey Payackapan, who had made the original Facebook posting, later apologised for starting the scare.

“The fish could have been dead by many reasons, so it was wrong of me to assume it was the explosion,” she said.

“Richelieu is still beautiful and full of life, and I apologise for giving such wrong information.”

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