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Thailand: Chao Lao Bay Marine Conservation
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Thailand: Chao Lao Bay Marine Conservation

The spectacular marine habitat of Chao Lao Bay on the Eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand has suffered decline because of over-fishing, over-development, and pollution. But with the help of a small grant from UNDP, local small-scale fishermen have started to rehabilitate the Bay, using local knowledge and technology.

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Produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Chao Lao Bay was once regarded as an untouched jewel nestled on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand. But, over the past two decades, its spectacular marine habitat has suffered continued decay. Like many coastlines in Thailand, the main causes of the degradation were over-fishing, over-development, and increased waste and pollution. As a result, fish stocks plummeted, directly impacting the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen who have fished the area for generations. By 2004, the community had had enough. With the help of a small grant from the United Nations Development Programme, they set about rehabilitating their environment, using local knowledge and technology. They started by replanting mangrove forests, protecting the area's coral reefs, and constructing homes for blue swimmer crabs so they can safely breed, helping to increase the local crab population.
KRI SENG HOK [Corn Farmer]
The activities that have been carried out by the project include surveying threatened plant life and marine species such as dugong, dolphin, sea turtles, and reefs, watching over how seabed plants and animals are faring, and conducting sea surveillance against illegal fishing.
VOICEOVER
From these efforts 20 years of environmental degradation is now being reversed: fish stocks are on the up and long-lost marine species are returning to the rehabilitated habitats. And the fishermen are earning more.
KRI SENG HOK
The [daily] income has increased from 200 baht per person to 300 baht per person. After launching the crab townhouse, the percentage increase of blue swimming crab is between 30 to 40 percent, resulting in savings of petrol for our fishing boats.
VOICEOVER
The revitalization of the coral reef is also bringing tourists back to the area, and that's boosting the local economy. Meanwhile, the reforestation of the mangrove is helping to preserve and protect the land from erosion, and is also restoring degraded ecosystems. Also, the local government developed a law to ensure coastal conservation continues well into the future. With the help of UNDP, the project is now being promoted throughout Thailand and across the region as a successful example of community action. Copycat projects that improve coastal environments and their management are already popping up throughout the country. It's a legacy the people of Chao Lao Bay can be proud of.