Koh Tao – Thailand paradise island’s effort to protect its incredible reefs

Coral reefs only count for 1% of the whole surface of the ocean but are home to more than 25% of sea-dwellers.

They can be compared to our big cities – just under water. Koh Tao hosts many of these “big cities”, each with their own characteristics, making them the ideal location for scientific research in the marine conservation field.

All this work is important to understand the global and local threats to the reef and to come up with solutions to protect its diversity: the information collected will be used to help not only the Koh Tao reefs, but similar environments all around the world.

But let`s start with some info on Koh Tao: Koh Tao is an impressive island in the tropical Gulf of Thailand and a hot spot and diving mecca for a lot of tourists each year. It is surrounded by more than 25 diving sites, all naturally equipped with a variety of different types of reefs. The visibility is great and clear up to 30 metres in depth. This, combined with particularly quiet waters, will let you enjoy a stunning view of the entire marine beauty surrounding you.

Koh Tao – a snap worthy of a postcard: this explains why tourists and divers can’t get enough of it!

Projects in Thailand focus on a variety of topics.

Some of them are:

  • Reef Monitoring
  • Reef Monitoring
  • Pelagic Fish Population Monitoring
  • CoralWatch
  • Crown of Thorns Research
  • Coral Nurseries
  • Water Quality
  • Habitat Preferences Modelling
  • Behavioural Studies
  • Reef Trash Removal
  • Underwater Mooring Line Establishment & Maintenance
  • Beach Clean Up`s

As a volunteer you can support these initiatives together with the local team of marine biologists, dive professional and coordinators.

Before joining the team in all these wonderful under-water activities, you will receive thorough and comprehensive dive training. You will learn about theoretical aspects of marine conservation and how to provide support for the practical work that goes on under water as well as on land.

Volunteers learn how to dive beforehand to be prepared for upcoming research work underwater in Thailand`s amazing variety of reefs (RAID Open Water and Advanced Open Water Training).

Volunteers relaxing after theoretical lessons about the reefs, its inhabitants and marine conservation – one step closer to becoming a marine science expert!

None of these fantastic projects would be possible without Gapforce amazing partners and their deep knowledge of the oceans and conservation initiatives.

To name a few:

  • The DMCR, a department of the Thailand government for Marine and Coastal Resources –  focussing on initiatives designed for Koh Tao
  • The University of Queensland and the project CoralWatch
  • The project AWARE, protecting the reefs from pollution
  • The project Green Fins, a collaboration with the UN to publish guidelines for sustainable diving
  • The Oceans Conservancy organisation, seeking solutions for a healthy ocean based on scientific findings

Our objectives are:
… to inform residents and tourists about the different issues and communicate how to prevent them
… to do research work and get involved in a variety of projects that need immediate action
… to collect data allowing us to track our progress and find new ways to help the beautiful Koh Tao coral reef

With the help of everyone involved – from local government, to marine conservationists, project partners and volunteers – we are working hard towards our common goal: to protect our oceans and their bio-diversity for the generations to come.

If you want to learn more about Gapforce Marine Conservation programs visit our website for all the details!


A group getting prepared to go under water…

And down we go! Observation of fish populations – important data is being collected, tracking progress and providing the basis for future conservation initiatives.

Another sea-dweller in his daily life – a sea turtle swimming peacefully through Koh Tao`s reefs.

And of course…don´t forget about the fun – it will be hard to miss in an place like this!

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