Corals in Nha Trang Bay died in mass

Khanh HoaIn the past time, corals in the Hon Mun island area of ​​Nha Trang Bay have died in series, covered with hundreds of square meters, many tourists are sad and regretful.

Corals in Nha Trang Bay died in mass

Many coral areas under the sea of ​​Hon Mun died white. Video: Mai Kha

At the end of May, Mr. Nguyen Son, a tourist from Hanoi, and his son went to Hon Mun Island (the core area of ​​Nha Trang Bay Nature Reserve) to scuba dive. It is expected that the Hon Mun marine ecosystem will thrive after the absence of tourists due to the epidemic, but when he dived, Son saw that the bottom of the sea was deserted and there were not many fish and corals left.

According to Mr. Son, Covid-19 caused tourism to slow down, but it was also a time for the sea, especially aquatic life on the bottom, to recover. More than a year ago, when diving at Hon Mun, diving enthusiasts like Mr. Son were happy because the marine ecosystem gradually recovered. Many divers here tell each other that if there is no guest for more time, the coral and marine fauna of Hon Mun are not inferior to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia,…

“Now diving, witnessing the mass death of corals, sea lovers like me are very sad,” said Mr. Son, adding that the marine ecosystem is now only 1/10 of what it was before the epidemic.

The coral in the Hon Mun sea area is almost no longer for tourists to admire.  Photo: Mai Kha

The coral in the Hon Mun sea area is almost no longer for tourists to admire. Image: Mai Kha

Hon Mun is more than 10 km from the shore, located in the core pool of Nha Trang Bay Conservation Area (about 160 km2). This place has many corals and the richest and most diverse ecosystems in Vietnam, famous diving sites, attracting tourists to scuba dive, see the ocean floor.

Mai Hoang Kien Kha, a diver with nearly 20 years of experience in Nha Trang City, said that through a field survey, over the past time the corals at Hon Mun have died a lot. The number of marine life is quite small, some places are full of garbage and fishing traps. The area northeast of Hon Mun (Mama Hanh beach) used to have many beautiful coral reefs, attracting visitors to scuba diving, but now the dead coral is covered with hundreds of square meters of white.

According to research results of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution – Russian Academy of Sciences, Vietnam – Russia Tropical Center in Nha Trang and Institute of Oceanography in March 2021, 90% of corals in Nha Trang Bay has disappeared compared to 1980. In which, the current period has the strongest decline.

Dr. Hoang Xuan Ben, Deputy Director of Nha Trang Institute of Oceanography, said the decline of coral reefs in the bay has many causes such as: destructive mining with explosives (now no longer available); environmental pollution from tourism activities, waste discharge, aquaculture; coral bleaching and natural impacts such as storms, floods…

Damaged coral reefs.  Photo: Mai Kha

Damaged coral reefs. Image: Mai Kha

Meanwhile, Mr. Huynh Binh Thai, head of the management board of Nha Trang Bay, said natural disasters were the main cause of the mass death of corals on the seabed. In particular, storm 12 (in 2021) damaged more than 80% of corals in Nha Trang sea.

“Climate change factors, increasing temperatures also have a negative impact on coral not only Nha Trang Bay but also areas like Phu Quoc,” said Mr. Thai, adding that the outbreak of pests such as starfish. thorns affecting marine ecosystems.

However, the reason for the disaster did not convince those who know the sea in Nha Trang. Mr. Mai Hoang Kien Kha (diver for many years), said that if there is a disaster, Van Phong Bay is more than 40 km away from Nha Trang Bay, which is the first place to catch the wind, it will be more damaged, but the coral here is very healthy. , develop. “The Hon Mun island area is considered to be more airtight, but the seabed is ruined, the corals die in mass, and blame it on natural disasters and storms is not convincing,” Mr. Kha said.

According to scuba divers, one reason for the sharp decline of coral in Hon Mun is because there are many illegal fishing and fishing boats here. These ships hover around the island (at a distance that is not sanctioned), watch the absence of the inspection force, sneak in to catch. Many fishing boats rake and wipe out marine life from small to large, which is the cause of coral breakage and damage. Some people dive into the sea to trap and smoke fish and shrimp to sell…

Panoramic view of Hon Mun conservation area.  Photo: Dong Hoi

Panoramic view of Hon Mun conservation area. Image: Dong Hoi

The head of Nha Trang Bay Management Board said that in 2021 and the first 6 months of 2022, patrol teams in the bay have prevented about 49 cases of illegal fishing… However, he acknowledged that the unit has few employees. Therefore, it is difficult to thoroughly control fishing boats that invade the core area of ​​the nature reserve. In many cases, the management board of the bay had to rely on the border guards and the combined fleet to handle it.

Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Tan Tuan said that after receiving feedback, the province has directed Nha Trang City to strengthen inspection forces. . At the same time, the locality promotes propaganda to tourists about hygiene issues when traveling, avoiding littering.

The provincial government also directed the Nha Trang Bay Management Board to coordinate with the Institute of Oceanography and related parties to conduct research to transplant, cultivate and restore coral reefs on the seabed. The Bay Management Board estimates the time to restore coral reefs to take about 10 years.

Bui Toan

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