Nha Trang reveals new coral diving spots for conservation

By Bui Toan   June 13, 2024 | 06:07 pm PT
Nha Trang reveals new coral diving spots for conservation
A diver at the Hon Mun conservation area in Nha Trang, before a diving ban was imposed following coral bleaching, in 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Kha Toan
Central Vietnam's Khanh Hoa Province has designated four new diving areas in Nha Trang Bay for one year, responding to coral bleaching that has led to restrictions at previously popular sites.

The plan, approved by the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee on Wednesday following a meeting with leaders from relevant sectors, would be evaluated after the one-year period to devise the next plan.

The four areas include the north of Hon Rua Island, the artificial reefs at Vinh Hoa Ward, the northeast of Tri Nguyen Island, and the intersectional waters between Bai Tranh and Bai Soi.

The coral reefs and ecosystems in these areas are diverse, according to the Nha Trang Bay management committee, which thus claims that allowing diving at such areas would not affect waterway traffic. The committee also argues that the plan could also boost tourism.

Dinh Van Thieu, vice chairman of the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee, has requested that Nha Trang and the Nha Trang Bay management committee seek opinions from relevant sectors to complete the plan and propose it before provincial authorities.

Criteria for selecting businesses to organize diving need to be established, alongside measures for addressing illegal diving and continuing efforts to restore Nha Trang Bay, according to authorities.

Nha Trang Bay, spanning around 250 km2, is one of Vietnam's 16 marine conservation sites. There are diverse corals and ecosystems in the area, as well as several popular diving spots that attract tourists.

However, coral reefs at the bay have been in severe decline due to bleaching. As such, starting June 2022, the Khanh Hoa People's Committee has halted and prohibited all swimming and diving activities at the Hon Mun area to protect the reefs and help them recover.

The Hon Rom area, located about 13 nautical miles from the mainland, belongs to a strictly protected area of the Nha Trang marine conservation site, but it still allows diving. Some businesses at the bay organize approved small diving excursions for tourists.

Dam Hai Van, deputy head of the Nha Trang Bay management committee, said diving would be suspended at the Hon Rom area in the future, so new alternative diving spots should be proposed to help protect the coral reefs.

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