February, 24 2014 08:07:00

Cham Island sees coral reef revival

A coral reef off the coast of the central province of Quang Nam. A small colony of young coral reef, which is the beginning of a reef ecosystem in the area, is growing back on the coastal area of Tam Hiep Islet. — Photo courtesy of sotaydulich.com

HOI AN (VNS) — A small colony of young coral reef is growing back on the coastal area of Tam Hiep Islet – in Cham Island, 18km off the coast of central Hoi An City.

An official from the Management Board of Cham Island, Le Vinh Thuan, confirmed to Viet Nam News that the small polyped stony corals reproduces young coral on a rock of the coastal area in Bai Lang Port.

"It's a sign of well-protected environment in the area. The environment around the port, which was seen as a heavily polluted area, has improved due to non-use plastic bags and the 3-R (reduce, reuse and recycle) programmes since 2011," Thuan said.

"We have grown 4,800 colonies of coral on an area of 4,000sq.m since 2012. We also localised some areas of corals that are vulnerable to human activities," he said.

He added that the managing board also collects crown-of-thorns starfish (acanthaster planci) – a shellfish that eat and destroy coral reef annually.

According to Chu Manh Trinh, an expert from the sea preservation centre of Cham Island, islanders gradually recognised the importance of protection coral reefs in the sea area.

He said that local people have almost stopped dumping garbage and nylon bags, creating a clean and safe environment for coral reef growing again.

He added that this young coral reef is the beginning of a reef ecosystem in the area.

However, the managing board has yet received major investment in improving the environment for coral reef reviving.

"Coral reefs are also among the most vulnerable, as they are extremely sensitive to seawater temperature, and global warming may destroy them. Natural disaster is the most dangerous factor that demolish coral reefs annually," Thuan speculated.

"We spend an amount of the ticket sales from tourism and funds from the provincial budget for protecting coral reefs. However, it is yet enough," he said.

According to latest statistics, the seawater of Cham Island is home to 1.26sq.km of coral reefs.

Nearly 3,000 inhabitants of Cham Island – one of the major tourist destinations in the central province of Quang Nam now have access to fresh water.

Vice chairman of the city Truong Van Bay said environmentally friendly technology solutions such as wind power and solar energy were the area's top priority.

Cham Island was recognised as a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2009. It hosts around 100,000 tourists annually, of them 10 per cent are foreigners.

Khanh Hoa bans coral exploitation

The Khanh Hoa People's Committee has issued a blanket ban on individuals and organisations exploiting coral in any form.

The decision, which also prohibits all fishing activities in two areas of the Hon Mun Natural Reserve, aims at enabling the central coastal province sustainably protect and develop local aquatic resources, officials said. — VNS

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