Nha Trang to suspend scuba tours to protect coral reefs

By Bui Toan   June 21, 2022 | 11:45 pm PT
Nha Trang to suspend scuba tours to protect coral reefs
A diver swims over a coral reef in Mun Island of Nha Trang Bay, June 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Kha
Authorities in the central province of Khanh Hoa decided to halt scuba diving tours in areas within Nha Trang Bay that are vulnerable to mass coral reef destruction.

The move came in the light of the shrinking coral reef ecosystem in Mun Island Marine Protected Area in Nha Trang Bay.

Provincial authorities ordered relevant agencies to strictly protect Mun Island area and cooperate with experts and research institutes to fully assess the current status of coral reefs.

Though Nha Trang beaches are up for tourism development, marine ecosystem protection must be a priority, authorities said.

Nha Trang Bay is nearly 250 square kilometers and is one of 16 marine protected areas in Vietnam.

In recent years, it has grown famous for scuba diving tours exploring its coral reefs and marine ecosystem.

An inspection by the management committee of Nha Trang Bay earlier this year revealed that the Mun Island coral reef has shrunk significantly compared to 2015.

The coral coverage rate to the island's northeast dropped from 54 percent to 32 percent while the rates fell from more than 50 percent to 11 percent in the southeast, and to 8 percent southwest.

Provincial authorities said the decrease in coral reefs in Nha Trang Bay resulted from the impacts of climate change triggered by two powerful storms in 2019 and 2021.

They also blamed the shrinking ecosystem in the bay on illegal fishing, dredging, construction of industrial parks and waste discharge.

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