Monday, April 15, 2024

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A massive overgrowth of plankton in the ocean off the eastern coast of Thailand has created an area devoid of marine life, known as a “dead zone.”


The waters off the eastern coast of Thailand are currently experiencing a dense plankton bloom, which is causing a “dead zone” and posing a threat to local fishermen who rely on the area for mussel farming.

According to marine experts, certain regions of the Gulf of Thailand are experiencing an excessive amount of plankton, exceeding the typical levels by over 10 times. This has caused the water to take on a vibrant green hue and has resulted in the death of various marine species.

Marine scientist Tanuspong Pokavanich remarked, “This is the worst I have ever seen it. The situation is extremely serious.”

According to experts, plankton blooms occur once or twice annually and typically endure for two to three days. These blooms can either release harmful toxins that damage the environment, or they can deplete oxygen levels in the water and block sunlight, leading to the death of marine life.

The coasts of Chonburi are well-known for their cultivation of mussels. According to Satitchat Thimkrajong, the president of the Chonburi Fisheries Association, over 80% of the nearly 300 farms in the region have been impacted.

The fishing business of Suchat Buwat was greatly affected by the bloom. He reported losing over 500,000 baht ($14,000) due to this, and his colleagues also suffered immeasurable losses.

Although the exact reason for the significant increase in plankton growth is uncertain, researchers suggest that both pollution and the extreme heat attributed to climate change may be responsible.

According to Tanuspong, El Niño results in dry conditions and increased ocean temperatures. If we do not make changes to our resource management, water usage, and lifestyles, the situation will only worsen.

In the beginning of this year, an abundance of plankton led to a large number of deceased fish appearing on a section of shoreline in Thailand’s Chumphon province. Scientists attribute this natural occurrence to climate change.

This year, the issue of marine heatwaves has become a global worry. In Texas, thousands of dead fish have been found on beaches, and experts are cautioning about algal blooms along the British coast due to increasing ocean temperatures.