Sunday , August 14 2022

Nha Trang suspends diving tours in marine reserve to inspect coral reefs

Swimming and diving has been banned at Mun Island Marine Protected Area in Nha Trang Bay from Monday to assess the condition of its shrinking coral reefs.

Khanh Hoa Province authorities had last week ordered a halt to scuba diving tours in areas in Nha Trang Bay considered vulnerable to coral reef destruction.

Experts will survey the damaged coral reefs, the bay management board has announced.

After the assessment is done, authorities will decide which tourism activities can be allowed at the marine reserve.

The Mun Island Marine Protected Area, spread over 160 square kilometers, was the first marine conservation project in Vietnam and was established in 2001.

It has nine islands, including Mun, famous for scuba diving tours.

An inspection by the management board earlier this year revealed that the island’s coral reef has shrunk significantly compared to 2015.

The coral coverage rate has declined from more than 50 percent to 11 percent in its southeast, from 54 percent to 32 percent in its northeast and to a mere 8 percent in its southwest.

Provincial authorities blamed it on climate change and two powerful storms in 2019 and 2021.

They also pointed to illegal fishing, dredging, construction of industrial parks, and waste discharge.

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