Initiative: Koh Libong Community: Digital Transformation for Smart Environment
Institution: Digital Economy Promotion Agency
Problem: Libong Island draws the largest herd of dugongs in Thailand. However, the annual mortality rate of dugongs is high, with at least 12 deaths annually due to illegal fishing, poaching and accidents from tour boats. The preservation of underwater plants and marine animals was needed to protect the resources of the island and to create sustainable tourism for the community.
Solution: Drone technology was introduced to monitor the coastline for illegal fishing and to protect the dugongs. Deploying a drone is more cost-effective and quickly covers a larger area than the traditional patrol boats. The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) has worked closely with the locals to create a business model and sustainable technology management to improve the economy of the island. Moreover, the local community has co-invested with DEPA to take ownership of the initiative. The community has designed a long-term development plan and guidelines to support the initiative.
Impact: Since implementing the project, 1) Illegal fishing has been reduced with the revival of dugongs and marine life on the Libong island; 2) Tourism has increased with better dugong habitat and sighting; 3) With the increase in tourism, the local economy improved. Increased revenue allows for more public services on the island.