Phang-nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center (also known as “Turtle Heaven”) was founded in 1985. It originally was set up as Phang-nga Mollusk Culture Research Station to produce cockle, oyster seeds, and shrimp larvae. Later on in 2002, it was then promoted to Phang-nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center.
The center is located along Thai Muang Beach in Phang-nga Province or about 30 kilometers south of downtown Khao Lak. Total area of the center is around 37 acres. The center is a government agency taken care by Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Bureau, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
The center is a wonderful attraction and fit for all ages. It opens daily from 08:30 – 16:30. Tourists can really enjoy some quality time at this unique research facility and learn about turtles and other marine lives (Entry fee is only 20 THB per person).
Objective and Responsibilities of the Center
The objective of the center is to foster and protect wide range of marine life. Its responsibilities include;
– Researching and developing coastal aquaculture and marine lives that are vital to the economy.
– Testing research solutions to link with Research Institute of Salt Water Shrimp, Coastal Aquatic Feed Research Institute, and Institute of Coastal Diseases.
– Using technology to help expand the volume of marine products for commercial purposes.
– Managing the coastal aquaculture industry and natural resources in a sustainable way.
– Setting Inspection Standards of products from coastal fishing.
– Certifying the process of coastal aquaculture production, which have to meet the standards of safety for consumers and the environment.
– Producing and breeding rare and endangered coastal species to help conserve and develop marine economy.
– Developing the production of tiger shrimp breeder and managing water irrigation system for salt water shrimp.
There are 4 endangered turtle species here at the center, which are the Green Turtle, Ridley Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and Leatherback Turtle. These species can be found throughout the Andaman Sea, where the species that are seen quite often are the Green Turtles and Hawksbill Turtles around the Similan and Surin Islands.
Find more info at: Turtles of the Similan islands
Turtles lay their eggs between October and March. Once the eggs have been laid on the beach,
the staffs will put a fence around them and guard for 24 hours from any predators. Once the eggs
are hatched, the turtles are brought to the center and being looked after until they are released
back to the wild when they are about 8 months old. The center is not only a nursery for baby
turtles, it also a place of rehabilitation for sick and injured turtles. More than 500 green turtles are
released from this center every year during the Turtle Release Festival held in the
beginning of March.
The best place to sea marine turtles in the wild are, snorkeling at Similan islands or snorkeling at Surin islands. You can scuba dive with turtles during a daytrips at Similan islands diving
Phang-nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center is also a commercial enterprise for aquarium fish. One of the top seller is common clown fish or better known as “Nemo”. The center also breed seaweed, sea snails, groupers, sea bass for commercial fish farms. Giant tiger clams are also breed there and being released nearby coral reefs.
The turtle festival happens once a year and during the festival food stand and exhibition is marine turtles are set free into the ocean to increase the population and reintroduce new individuals.
The turtle festival is great to attend, if you here at the right time, go have a look.
Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Centre
164 Moo 9 Thai Muang,
Phang Nga 82120 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 432 212