According to Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Department, disused oil rigs are being repurposed to construct a new diving destination for visitors 7.5 nautical miles north east of Koh Pha Ngan island. According to Varawut, the metal structures will serve to create a new coral reef tourist sector by attracting diving tour operators and divers, and the artificial coral reef area may be expanded if it proves to be successful. Steel rigs that have been turned into artificial coral reefs as part of a marine ecosystem have three benefits: they attract divers, improve the environment for marine life, and help the fishing industry. Artificial coral reefs attract fish and a variety of other marine species as they spread, according to Supichai Tangjaitrong, managing director of Chula Unisearch, which is part of Chulalongkorn University. The project’s progress, which began in April 2019 and is being carried out in collaboration with Chevron, Chulalongkorn University, and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, has delighted Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. An underwater utopia inspired by Aquaman is being developed near Koh Pha Ngan island in Surat Thani province out of abandoned oil and gas rigs.

Since the start of the project, the number of species has increased from 15 to 47, and the fish population density has increased from 97 to 215 fish per 100 square meters. He went on to state that the site is currently mostly attracting fish, and that the coral reefs would need to mature before being utilised as a new diving destination. According to him, small invertebrates that feed a variety of marine animals have been discovered at the site, and local fishermen have reported the return of several unusual fish species such as African pompanos and torpedo scads after a long absence.

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