Unspoilt reef found in Thailand

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Scientists have announced the discovery of a previously unknown coral reef off Thailand.

The new reef was found last month in the Phang-nga Province by a team of WWF divers who had received a tip-off from local fishermen.

The WWF says that an initial survey has shown that there are over 270 hectares of previously uncharted coral reef, which contains 30 types of hard coral and at least 112 species of fish, spanning 56 different families.

Among the fish spotted on the new reefs were a parrot fish called Chlorurus rakaura, which has never been seen in Thailand before, and a rare sweetlips called Plectorhincus macrospilus, which was previously only known from the Similan Islands.

Songpol Tippayawong, Head of the WWF Thailand Marine and Coastal Conservation Unit, told the WWF: "I believe discussions with fishermen over a wider area will lead us to discover even more important reefs, not yet mapped or protected by the authorities.

"This reef is easily accessible to dive operators from nearby Khao Lak, and if managed properly can become a prominent local dive site while also contributing an important source of income to the local community."