Hat Chao Mai National Park officials have asked all tourist boat operators in Trang province not to let tourists catch marine animals from the sea for selfies as such action is illegal and could face legal prosecution.
The warning of legal action was issued by the chief of the Krabi Marine and Coastal Resources Preservation Centre Mr Witthaya Kunsan after a marine environment expert Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat posted on his Facebook page a Thai female tourist taking selfies with a starfish on her head and four other starfishes and four sea cucumbers on the background.
The tourist explained on her Facebook post that the pictures were taken in Trang and her guide had told her she could take a starfish from the sea for selfies.
Her selfies with the starfish went viral on social media, and many viewers strongly condemned her saying the park has regulation that bans on picking marine animals up from the sea for selfies. They suggested relevant authorities to take action on such violation.
Later, the tourist, who used the Facebook name Ohaee Nutcha, apologised for her action and said she was not aware of the rule.
The preservation centre chief said investigation had showed the incident had taken place at Koh Mook in Trang's Hat Chao Mai National Park and the officers had already contacted the guide.
He said although the Facebook user had deleted the pictures but authorities have already copied as evidence as the act violated Article 16 of the national park law.
He said authorities would remind her not to do it again, and also would ask all tourist boats to warn tourists not to catch marine animals from sea in national park as it is an offence.
He said catching marine animals in the national park area is illegal and urged every tourist to comply with the rule and preserve the marine resources for others as well.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)