Marine and Coastal Conservation and Protected Area

Protected area means the areas, where the natural, ecological, or cultural values are recognized, that should be conserved for next generations. Protected area is established under the law or other regulations with various forms of management covering in both terrestrial and marine environments such as national parks, reserved forests, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. The management options, applied in the areas, are diverse and varied in terms of utilizations, some areas are public access while some are restricted.

Marine protected area (MPA) is the word used as a framework in specifying various types of area all over the world that are important for human beings and should be conserved. The definition is firstly certified by IUCN in 1988 (IUCN and WCMC, 2010). After that, the definitions have been developed by various countries in conformity to their problem issues and desired management options. Currently, marine protected areas and relevant networks are increasingly initiated in national, regional, and global scales.

In a global scale, there are two forms of definition on marine protected area: Marine Protected Area (MPA) specified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN, 1994) and Marine and Coastal Protected Area (MCPA) approved by 188 country members under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the Seventh Meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2004. The difference of those definitions is that in CBD, the word “coastal” is added to focus on the boundary of MPA that includes the inter-connected areas between land and sea, for examples, estuaries, marine salt marsh, as shown in Table

Table Definitions of marine protected area

Forms

Definitions

Marine Protected Area (MPA) Any area of the intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment.
Marine and Coastal Protected Area - MCPA Any defined area within or adjacent to the marine environment, together with its overlying water and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by legislation or other effective means, including custom, with the effect that its marine and/or coastal biodiversity enjoys a higher level of protection than its surroundings

Source: IUCN (1994) cited in Department of Marine and Coastal Resource (B.E.2555a)

 

It can be seen that two definitions are rather similar that they consider both coastal area and marine environment within those definitions. According to the definition of IUCN, coastal area is considered as any area of the intertidal or subtidal terrain, while CBD defined coastal area as any area within or adjacent to the marine environment. Additionally, CBD also described marine environment that such environments include sea bays, straits, lagoons, estuaries, seabeds (habitats for marine algae, seagrasses, and tropical marine floras), coral reefs, salt flats and marshes, deep-water coral reefs, deep-water vents, and open ocean habitats. (Anuwat, BE 2551)

For Thailand, a formal definition of marine protected area has not been defined yet, but the definitions of IUCN and CBD have been applied. Furthermore, the specific laws and regulations for Marine Protected Area have not been established. However, Marine Protected Areas were declared under the existing laws and regulations such as the National Park Act, Fisheries Act, etc.

Generally, the establishment of marine protected area in Thailand is based on IUCN Protected Area Category. Regards to the IUCN, MPAs are classified into six categories as the followings:

Category I: Strict Protection: It is divided into two sub-categories: Category Ia: Strict Natural Reserve, and Category IB: Wilderness Area.

Category II: Ecosystem conservation and protection: national park Category III: Conservation of natural features : natural monument Category IV: Conservation through active management: habitat/species management area Category V: Landscape/seascape conservation and recreation : protected landscape/ seascape Category VI: Sustainable use of natural resources: managed resource protected area

There are many kinds of marine protected area in Thailand classified into nine groups as shown in Table. The category 1-6 are the marine protected area under the national laws while the others are based on the regulations or agreements derived from international collaborations.

Table  Types of Marine Protected Area in Thailand 

Types

Number of MPAs

Major Laws

Total Area

(km2)

Terrestrial Environment

(km2)

Marine Environment

(km2)

IUCN Categories

Marine National Parks

22

National Park Act, B.E. 2504

6,927.75

2,137.07

4,790.68

II

Non-hunting areas

9

Wildlife Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535

777.47

705.73

71.74

IV

Preservation Fisheries

223

Fisheries Act, B.E. 2490

-

191 places

30 places

Ia

Controlled Fishing Areas   

25

Fisheries Act, B.E. 2490

50,814.94

-

50,814.94

IV

Marine archaeological Areas

44

Archaeological Sites, Antiques, Artifacts and National Museums Act, B.E. 2504

44 places

2 places

42 places

V

Environmental Protection Areas

6

The Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act, B.E. 2535 

9,499.27

4,981.48

4,517.79

VI

Wetlands as an international importance 

9

Ramsar Convention

1,213.88

1,196.27

17.61

-

Biosphere reserves

1

Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB)

304.13

175.77

128.36

-

ASEAN Heritage Parks

2

ASEAN Declaration on Heritage Parks 2003

2,154.75

424.49

1,730.26

-

Source: Department of Coastal and Marine Resources (B.E.2555a) 

Thailand has declared the marine protected areas that are in all coastal provinces as shown in Table. Preservation Fisheries Areas and Controlled Fisheries Areas are found in every coastal provinces. Prachuab Kiri khan, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Phang Nga, Krabi, and Trang have six types of MPAs.

Table  Availability of MPAs in Each Coastal Province 

Provinces

Marine National Parks

Non-hunting areas

Preservation

Fisheries

Controlled

Fishing Areas

Marine archaeological Areas

Environmental Protection Areas

Wetlands as an international importance

Biosphere reserves

ASEAN Heritage Parks

Gulf of Thailand
Samut Prakan

-

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

-

Samut Songkhram

-

-

ü

ü

-

-

ü

-

-

Samut Sakhon

-

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

-

Trat

ü

-

ü

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

Chanthaburi

-

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

Rayong

-

-

ü

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

Chonburi

-

-

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

-

-

Chachoengsoa

-

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

-

Phetchaburi

-

-

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

-

Prachuap Khiri Khan

ü

-

ü

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

-

Chumporn

ü

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

-

Surat Thani

ü

-

ü

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

Nakhon Si Thammarat

ü

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

Phatthalung

-

ü

ü

ü

-

-

ü

-

-

Songkla

-

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

Pattani

-

-

ü

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

Narathiwat

ü

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

-

Andaman Sea
Ranong

ü

-

-

ü

-

-

ü

ü

-

Phang Nga

ü

-

ü

ü

-

ü

ü

-

ü

Puket

ü

-

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

-

Krabi

ü

ü

-

ü

-

ü

ü

-

-

Trang

ü

ü

ü

ü

ü

-

ü

-

-

Satun

ü

-

ü

ü

-

-

-

-

ü

Source: Department of Coastal and Marine Resources (B.E.2555a)