Mu Koh Chang Island Coral Reef Habitat Demonstration Site - Thailand

Project Title:Mu Koh Chang Island Coral Reef Habitat Demonstration Site - Thailand
Project Focus:Coral Reefs
Project Country:Thailand
Project Summary:The main objective of this project is to remove or reduce the causes of coral reef degradation at Mu Koh Chang Island in Thailand by applying a new model of co-management in the area and restoring certain deteriorated areas for education and tourism purposes. The project highlights the importance of coordination between government institutions, the private sector, and local communities for sustainable tourism development. Experience in the development of the co-management model at Mu Koh Chang Island can be applied to other areas of Thailand and the South China Sea which have similar problems. This site is situated close to the Thai-Cambodian border and situated in close proximity to Thailand’s Chong-Chang Strait fisheries refugia site.
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Project Location:Mu Koh Chang Island, Thailand (11°56′-12°16′ N, 102°25′-102°61′ E)
Project URL:
Project Start Date:Jul - 01 - 2005
Project End Date:Jul - 01 - 2008
Project Rationale:As Mu Koh Chang is located near the border of Cambodia and not far from Vietnam, and harbours some of the richest marine communities in the western South China Sea, the Thai Government has initiated a project to develop Mu Koh Chang as an important regional ecotourism site. Given the importance of Mu Koh Chang Island to fisheries, as well as its ecological and transboundary significance, there is a urgent need to develop a management model to ensure sustainable tourism at the site.
Project Goal(s):
  1. Development of a Co-Management Model for Sustainable Tourism Development at Mu Koh Chang Island
Project Objective(s):
  1. Raise public awareness and education on the ecological importance and sustainable use of coral reefs
  2. Build networks among government institutions, the private sector and local communities for coral reef management and conservation, as well as develop a formal mechanism for longer-term co-ordination of existing networks
  3. Develop a sustainable ecotourism programme for Mu Koh Chang and its vicinity
  4. Encourage capacity building in all levels and sectors
  5. Develop alternative income generating programmes for fishers
  6. Support coral reef monitoring and rehabilitation
Project Activities:
  1. Public awareness building and education: this activity involves training and seminars for students, tourism operators, government staff, and local community members in order to raise their understanding on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems and sustainable utilisation of marine resources. Programmes on empowering community groups to develop coral reef conservation activities at Mu Koh Chang Island will also be implemented.
  2. Establishing networks between stakeholders: this activity encourages and fosters coordination among government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, and local communities during planning, operation and evaluation phases of coral reef conservation initiatives at Mu Koh Chang Island. This activity is aimed at strengthening the co-management of coral reef management activities in the area and to reduce any obstacles to project implementation.
  3. Developing sustainable coral reef tourism: this activity focuses on the conduct of coral reef carrying capacity studies in order to develop sustainable models for coral reef based tourism at Mu Koh Chang Island. Development of underwater diving trails, establishment of a local guide centre, installation of mooring buoys, and determination of a tourist fee for coral reef management purposes are supporting activities.
  4. Capacity building: this activity is focused on exposing coral reef researchers, site managers, and NGOs to examples of best practice in coral reef management developed at the Mu Koh Chang Island Habitat Demonstration Site. Specific activities include research fund raising, training, seminars, and study visits. It is anticipated that this activity will assist in improving the capacity of managers other coral reef and seagrass demonstration sites to develop co-management approaches to coral reef conservation in the South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand.
  5. Development of sustainable livelihoods: This activity involves training of local fishers at Mu Koh Chang Island for the development alternative sustainable livelihoods such as mariculture and diving tour guides in order to reduce the impacts on the site from illegal fishing. Supporting activities include: the conduct of socio-economic studies; dissemination of information on the critical links between fish stocks and coral reefs in the Chong-Chang Strait area of the eastern Gulf of Thailand; and the establishment of artificial reefs.
  6. Improvement of site management to support coral reef rehabilitation: Demonstration activities for coral reef restoration will be conducted in certain localities. These activities are aimed at raising community awareness of the important roles of coral reefs and threats to their longer-term sustainability. Specific activities include: monitoring coral reef condition (ecological and socio-economics aspects) and mapping additional coral reef areas; coral reef restoration using coral fragments and natural recruitment; monitoring and control of land-based pollution; establishment of a database of corals and coral reef associated organisms at Mu Koh Chang Island; and research on the mariculture of economically important coral reef organisms.
Project Output:
  1. Permanent notice boards, brochures, and posters on coral reef management at Mu Koh Chang Island
  2. Network of local community trained and capable to support coral reef management initiatives at Mu Koh Chang Island
  3. Multi-media materials on coral reef management at Mu Koh Chang, including radio/TV clips, coral reef website, handbooks, and educational guidebooks
  4. Reports on coral reef based tourism carrying capacity study and tourist fee for suatainable coral reef management at Mu Koh Chang Island
  5. Underwater trail promoting sustainable coral reef use and links to fisheries
  6. Community funded mooring buoys system
  7. Coral Reef Conservation Centre and team of guides
  8. Management plan for sustainable coral reef based tourism at Mu Koh Chang Island
Project Outcome:
  1. Increased local community awareness of the importance of coral reefs at Mu Koh Chang Island
  2. Voluntary management of coral reefs at Mu Koh Chang Island by community-based conservation groups
  3. Joint coral reef management projects at Mu Koh Chang Island involving all relevant agencies and stakeholders
  4. Development of sustainable coral reef based tourism at Mu Koh Chang Island
  5. Substantial increase in the number of local community members competent in coral reef management
  6. Increased income of local fishermen and a reduction in illegal fishing at Mu Koh Chang Island
  7. Reduce impacts of anthropogenic disturbances on coral reef restoration
Additional Documents:
Project Sponsors:
Funding CategorySourceAmount (USD)
Government In-KindRoyal Thai Government604,000
International DonorGlobal Environment Facility373,589
GovernmentRoyal Thai Government58,800
Total Sponsor Donations:$1,036,389
Project Expenditures:
Edxpenditure CategoryAmount (USD)
Project Personnel58,826
Administrative Support37,200
Total Expenditures:$284,776
© UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project.