New Heaven Reef Conservation Program

Our marine conservation courses are designed to teach divers how to interact with the marine environment in a positive way, contribute to reef research, manage local reefs, and work on coral restoration or protection projects. Students and volunteers in our program get hands on training while working on a wide range of projects including reef surveys, coral nurseries, artificial reefs, giant clam nurseries, sea turtle rehabilitation, clean-ups, and much more.

We believe that the people most closely connected to the reef should be the ones that care for it, and so are trying to get more and more divers involved in marine education and conservation. Through various ongoing marine projects and ocean monitoring studies we engages in the many facets of marine conservation Thailand has to offer.

The program is designed to give participants a hands-on approach to learning about the coral reef environment and a wide range of research and restoration techniques used by professionals around the world. Reef research and monitoring is the only way to get a true idea of what the problems are and what needs to be done to alleviate them. After the problem has been identified we can start to reduce the damage with various coral restoration activities.

After finishing the reef conservation course, participants will have a greater understanding of coral ecosystems and the threats to them, and learn new diving and underwater skills. The courses are broken down to accommodate those wishing to try things out for 3 days, or to write a thesis or earn valuable job training over the course of 6 months.

We will provide a free welcome pack to all Tourism Concern Members which includes the 160+ page color manual on the Ecological Monitoring Program and a T-Shirt.

Through our marine conservation program we foster responsible business practices on the island, teach locals how to care for the reef, educate local school children on coral reef conservation, and provide free dive training for them. Our program trains students from all over the globe in the skills needed to contribute to local coral reef management, using techniques available to any local community or stakeholders dependent upon reef health. Through our activities we provide real solutions for the local diving and snorkeling industry, such as maintaining mooring lines around the island to reduce reef damage caused by anchors. Through our partnerships with local universities and government bodies we provide much of the manpower and long-term maintenance for their projects and also play a major role in organizing community based projects and meetings.

Our business hires local people for most jobs, and almost all of our materials for projects are purchased on the island, even if that means paying a premium. We give discounted courses to Thai people not from the island, and free courses for any Thai or Myanmar Nationals on the island. Very little of our income is spent off the island, and as a unique business we do not take jobs away from local people but instead support the sustainability of their livelihoods. Much of our profits are donated back to the island in the form of projects or activities to benefit the local society and environment.

Our program is centered on marine conservation, every day of the week we are involved in some project to improve or protect the local coastal environment. Through scientifically based programs and studies we are not only keeping the reefs in good condition today, but providing the resources and knowledge needed to continue this work far into the future. Our program teaches people to not only reduce their negative effects on the environment but to interact positively with the marine environment every time they enter the water. 



About the author

Peter Bishop

Peter Bishop – Programme Manager Tourism Concern. Peter became a trustee of Tourism Concern in 2006, stepping down in 2009 in order to work on projects including our DFID-funded ‘Empowering Coastal Communities’ project, the Gap Year and International Volunteering Standard, and research into employment conditions in all-inclusive hotels.

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