Nonprofit or community organization
Last modified: January 22, 2013, 5:05 AM
The archipelago is composed by 800 islands almost untouched by the tourism industry. The area is uninhabited except for a few groups of Moken Sea Gypsies who depends directly on the primary resources of the archipelago. During the past 50 years, because of the political situation of Burma, all the area was inaccessible to foreigner visitors. This contributed to the preservation of the islands who are still covered by primary tropical forests and the health status of the waters is very good. Previous researches run by ECoSwiss, who owns one of the limited permits to access the area since 1997, have proven the richness of biodiversity and the pressing need to promote the conservation of the site through research and awareness programs.
Threats to biodiversity have been observed and reported several times: the resource use in the sea and on the islands is increasing very fast, the number of fishermen boats coming from mainland Burma and the subsequent creation of new human settlements is also growing at an alarming rate and destructive fishing practices like blast (dynamite) fishing is also present. Forest logging, charcoal production from mangrove wood, hunting and, at the end, uncontrolled tourism development following the soon opening of Myanmar relations with foreigner investors are other pressing threats to the ecological value of this site.
Our program Mergui Archipelago Biodiversity Research consists in research expeditions onboard our sailing catamaran, led by a competent scientist or coordinator and run by enthusiastic eco-volunteers. Each expedition focuses on a specific topic varying from coral reef surveys, mapping, ornithology, forest flora and fauna surveys, data collection from local communities, etc.
We collaborate with Myanmar government departments, universities and local NGO.
Map of Mergui Archipelago
Note: not all the islands apperar on this map
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MerguiArchipelagoMap.png, modified by ECoSwiss