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Building coastal resilience to reduce climate change impacts in Thong Tom Yai, Thailand

Submitted by Daniela Anguilano 10th April 2014 10:47


Summary of Adaptation Challenge

Thong Tom Yai Community is located in Thong Tom Bay in Tambon Dan Sawi, in Chumphon province in the South of Thailand. The main sources of income in Thong Tom Yai are fishing, agriculture and eco-tourism. Ao Thong Tom is a closed bay that serves as a main source of food for Thong Tom Yai community and neighbors due to its rich marine habitat and fish nursery function. As an impact of climate change, Thong Tom Yai community faces higher sea level and strong ocean wind and waves from the Gulf of Thailand, especially during the monsoon season from October till February. This affects their inshore fisheries negatively. With less catch they have less to sell on the market and fewer income. 

Methodology

CARE project staff and governmental and community representatives conducted a “Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis” to gain information on climate change impact on livelihoods and existing adaptation strategies in target communities. Based on these findings, adaptation projects with communities and local government were designed. A feasibility study was conducted to ensure that interventions are climate smart. Additionally, local government was trained in budgeting to be able to integrate best adaptation practices into development plans. Experiences are then shared among Indonesian and Thai stakeholders and CARE staff to increase knowledge.

Adaptation Options

In response to climate change the community, Raks Thai Foundation/CARE and the local government developed the following activties to restore their coastal ecosystem:

  • Design of durable fish house systems to increase the fish and aquatic animal stock in the bay. Fish houses are built from concrete pipes arranged in a pyramid form on the bottom of the sea. With time the tubes will be covered with mussels and algae, a nutrition source for fishes. Fish larva will be released in the tubes, which protect them from strong currents and predators. The fish house area is marked that people know where fish houses are located.
  • The community agreed on rules to protect their natural resource conservation zone. It is forbidden to catch within a distance of 500m of the fish houses and to use illegal fishing tools in the bay. The local regulation was announced by the head of the village.
  • The community regularly organizes mangrove cultivation activities to create opportunities for all stakeholders to take part in resource restoration. Especially youth groups and tourists from the home-stay join these community activities. In addition, the community organizes a sea ordination, a symbol to conserve and care of the bay, as it will be a sustainable animal breeding center for the community.

Key messages

The community has increased marine habitat areas and is able to expand its conservation zones for a greater number of marine organisms to become a secured source of food for the community. The proper protection of the zone is only possible with binding laws and regulations, which are reflected in the annual village development plan. Therefore also the neighbouring village should be invited to the conservation related activities and events to raise their awareness towards the importance of a functioning coastal ecosystem for the community and to respect the local regulation.

Lessons learnt

Involving stakeholders from different levels in the project and data assessments creates awareness on climate change. The fish house activity and the coastal zone management help the villagers to earn income even during the monsoon season and through eco-tourism, which prevents them from seeking labor in the city. All activities mentioned-above are supported by local organizations such as the Marine and Coastal Resources Research and Development Center, Central Gulf of Thailand, which supported marine breeding in the conservation zone and provided technical information to the community including information on climate change research in Ao Thung Kaswi area. Moo Koh Chumphon National Park Station 1 provided the community members with knowledge of bay management. Mangrove Forest Resource Development Station 12 assisted in technical knowledge and mangrove seedlings for community mangrove cultivation. Marine and Coastal Resource Conservation Center 3 of Chumphon province collaborated with the community to prevent them from any illegal marine and coastline activities. The Community Tourism Network of Chumphon province supported the community´s eco-tourism.