Dive tourism suspension planned to protect coral reefs in Nha Trang Bay

The central province of Khanh Hoa is planning to suspend dive tourism activities in vulnerable coral reef areas in Nha Trang Bay in the face of reef degradation there.

On June 20, the Standing Board of the provincial Party Committee held a meeting to look into the coral reef degradation in Hon Mun Marine Protected Area and concluded that the media’s report on reef degradation in this place is true, according to an announcement released on late June 21.

It blamed that fact on impacts accumulated for many years due to both objective and subjective causes.

The objective cause is impacts of climate change and two strong storms, Damrey in 2017 and Rai in 2021. Meanwhile, the subjective cause is the loose management and coordination among relevant departments, sectors, and localities, along with impacts of improper human activities such as illegal fishing, unregulated coastal construction, and waste release from tourism activities.

The Standing Board requested the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee to suspend dive tourism activities in the vulnerable coral reef areas in Nha Trang Bay, especially the area surrounding Hon Mun Island, and take measures for protecting those areas.

It ordered authorities of Khanh Hoa province and Nha Trang city to conduct patrols to conserve the Hon Mun Marine Protected Area, increase communications to raise locals and tourists’ awareness, and ask institutes, research centres, experts, and scientists to carry out studies and surveys so as to make a precise assessment of the situation and propose solutions.

According to the Nha Trang Bay Management Board, the coral coverage in the waters to the northeast and southwest of Hon Mun Island declined to 32.62% (medium condition) in 2022 from 53.7% (good condition) in 2015. In the areas to the southeast and northwest, the coverage stands at 11.15% (poor condition) this year, down from 52.2% (good condition) in 2015.

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