Tourism projects found encroaching on Phu Quoc marine sanctuary

By Duong Dong, Ngoc Tai   August 16, 2022 | 11:43 pm PT
Tourism projects found encroaching on Phu Quoc marine sanctuary
Bungalows are built illegally in the Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area in Phu Quoc Island, August 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Dong
Illegal tourism projects have encroached on the marine protected area off Phu Quoc Island, threatening a number of endangered species.

In Cay Sao Hamlet in Ham Ninh Commune, authorities have detected bridges, restaurants, a fish raft area, a bar, and 18 bungalows built illegally on an area of more than 2,000 sq.m.

In An Thoi Town in the south, construction of four pedestrian bridges is underway with the builders encroaching on an embankment and pouring sand on the seabed.

All of these are in the ecological restoration subdivision of the Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area (MPA), which spreads over 27,000 hectares along Phu Quoc, Vietnam's only island city.

Established in 2007, it is one of 11 marine protected areas in the country and comprises a coral reef conservation area of 10,000 ha, a seagrass conservation area of nearly 7,000 ha, and an area of over 10,000 ha for restoration of threatened marine species such as sea cows, sea turtles and dolphins.

On Tuesday Phu Quoc Party chief Tong Phuoc Truong ordered the immediate demolition of the illegal structures.

Locals reportedly took advantage of the social distancing restrictions during Covid-19 in the past two years and lack of staff at the MPA to surreptitiously carry out the constructions projects.

Phu Quoc is one of the top tourist attractions in Vietnam with foreign visitors allowed to fly in without a visa.

In the first six months of this year it attracted 2.4 million visitors, including 46,000 foreigners, after getting no foreign visitors for almost two years until last November.

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