The method has successfully revived thousands of square meters of corals, contributing to diversifying the UNESCO-recognized Cham Island Biosphere Reserve.
Located about 15km from Hoi An ancient town, Cham Island is famous for picturesque landscapes, crystal clear water, fresh air, and extremely rich biodiversity. Cham Island comprises a group of eight islets.
Visitors are often first mesmerized by the pristine and charming beauty of Huong beach, Lang beach, Ba Cave, and Hai Tang Pagoda. The island also impresses tourists by a colorful seabed garden. Since the seabed aquatic species are revived, the Cham Island coral snorkeling tour has become much sought after.
The Cham Island Biosphere Reserve hosts more than 290 coral species together with 370 species of underwater plant life, and nearly 280 reef fish species.
In recent years, thanks to the support of the Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, a project has been carried out to revive some stony corals at the Cham Island Marine Protected Area (MPA).
The coral reefs raised at the MPA have grown well, becoming the habitat for aquatic species. Even the coral reefs which had been severely affected by storms, floods, and fishing have shown signs of recovery.
Nguyen The Hung, Deputy Chairman of the Hoi An City People’s Committee, said: “It’s really good news and means that the dead coral areas have gradually revived. In addition, it’s possible to combine the plantation of corals and tourism development to create coral snorkeling tours.”
Stony corals tend to decrease in most MPAs. The Cham Island Marine Protected Area and Nha Trang Bay Marine Protected Area have been selected to grow hard corals for restoration purposes.
To date, more than 3,000 colonies of coral have successfully been grown on more than 2,700 square meters at Bac and Tra beaches. Two arboreta of 600 colonies of coral seedlings have also been established at Bo and Nan beaches with the survival rate reaching 99%.
Le Tri Thanh, Deputy Chairman of the Quang Nam provincial People’s Committee, said the result has promoted Quang Nam to continue a long-term plan to restore the coral reefs in Cham Island and replicate the model in other coastal areas in the province.
“Boats and ships keep operating normally around the areas of high priority or in the pilot areas for restoration but corals are recovering well. Sea grass has also shown signs of recovery. To expand the coral restoration areas, we need more time for research and evaluation. The expansion will only be conducted step by step,” said Thanh.
The restoration of corals in Cham Island has opened up new opportunities for the locals to improve their living conditions. More than 500 islanders have directly participated in eco-tourism activities. Improved living standards and higher incomes have encouraged local people to protect the island’s environment and natural resources.