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 Andaman Sea is home to four species of turtle, the most common are Hawksbill and Green sea turtles, though occasionally there are sightings of Olive Ridley and Leatherback sea turtles.
The white sandy beaches of the Similan Islands and the Phang Nga coastline are important nesting areas for both Hawksbill and Green sea turtles. The nesting season runs from October to March, peaking from mid November to mid January. There are important nesting sites at both the Similan Islands and Surin Islands. On the Phang Nga coastline not far from Khao Lak there are also nesting sites at Thai Muang Beach and on the beaches of Koh Phra Thong.
Like other sea turtle species found around the world, their numbers are in serious decline in the Andaman Sea. The main factors contributing to this are egg poaching, over fishing, pollution, habitat degradation and being caught by fishermen as bycatch. This is despite the fact that all four sea turtle species are protected under Thai law.