Chàm Islands eye on Nature Reserve promotion

November 03, 2023 - 08:27
The debut of the Chàm Islands Nature Reserve would help improve the protection of natural areas for Quảng Nam and bring more value in eco-tourism, research, education, investment and ‘green’ growth in the future.
A view of Chàm Islands, off the coast of Hội An ancient town. The islands have been developed as a Nature Reserve for better protection and conservation of their rich forest and marine value. VNS Photo Công Thành

CHÀM ISLANDS — The management board of Chàm Islands Marine Protected Area (MPA), 20km off the coast of Hội An City has been building procedures and requirements for the establishment of the Chàm Islands Nature Reserve for extended protection and conservation of natural resources on land and sea.

Deputy director of the MPA, Nguyễn Văn Vũ said the introduction of the reserve will help expand the strict protected area of primary forest and sea under integrated management, improving the conservation of flora and fauna species on both land and water.

A pier for boats to dock at the Chàm Islands. It is one of the most popular eco-tourism sites in Hội An and Quảng Nam Province. VNS Photo Công Thành

“It’s a longer vision plan on boosting biodiversity conservation of the MPA, and improving the natural value of the UNESCO-recognised Chàm-Hội An World Biosphere Reserve site,” Vũ said.

Natural forest is well protected on the Chàm Islands. The clean and green environment of the Chàm Islands is a point of attraction for tourists. Photo courtesy of Chàm Islands MPA

He said previously, the MPA managing board was only assigned sea area management and protection, while the land and forest area on the Chàm Islands (1,490ha) was managed by local authorities, defence units and businesses.

Vũ said the establishment of the natural reserve on 23,500ha will include 1,490ha of the islands, forest and sea area under MPA management.

He said the MPA and Hội An City’s People’s Committee will complete procedures submitting the nature reserve establishment to Quảng Nam Provincial People’s Council for official approval.

“I think the debut of the Chàm Islands Nature Reserve would help improve the protection of natural areas for Quảng Nam and bring more value in eco-tourism, research, education, investment and ‘green’ growth in the future.

The Chàm Islands-Hội An World Biosphere Reserve, recognised by UNESCO in 2009, covers the ancient town of Hội An and the lower area of the Thu Bồn River, creating it as a unique area in central Việt Nam.

Turtle eggs are hatched on a beach of Chàm Islands. Thanks to pristine beaches, the islands have been a turtle conservation site. VNS Photo Công Thành

The Chàm Islands, which include seven islets (Lao, Lá, Dài, Tai, Mồ, Khô and Cụ) and the main Chàm Island with 2,400 inhabitants, have become one of the most popular destinations in Quảng Nam Province.

It’s also one of three main attractions in Quảng Nam Province – along with the world heritage sites of Hội An ancient town and Mỹ Sơn Sanctuary.

According to a report from MPA, more than 80 per cent of the population switched from fishing to the eco-tourism sector.

The islands are the only location in Việt Nam which have been promoting the non-use of plastic bags and ‘3R’ (reduce, reuse and recycle) programmes since 2011, and fighting over-fishing, making this the first ‘zero waste and plastic waste’ destination in Việt Nam.

The 2,400 inhabitants earned US$3.6 million per year, 65 per cent of which is from tourism and service of hosting about 400,000 per year.

The MPA and Hội An allow only 3,000 tourists to visit the islands per day in order to protect the marine ecological system.

A volunteer checks coral reefs in water off the Chàm Islands. Coral conservation has helped the islands boost eco-tour service and attraction for decades. Photo courtesy of Đào Đặng Công Trung

Quảng Nam Province now has the Sông Thanh National Park – one of the biggest carbon stores in Việt Nam, with special protection of biodiversity – two nature reserves of Ngọc Linh and the sao la, Vũ Quang ox, spindlehorn, or Asian bicorn (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) (one of the world’s rarest large mammals), and an elephant conservation centre in Nông Sơn District.

The introduction of the Chàm Islands Natural Reserve will contribute to Quảng Nam Province’s process of building carbon credit exports. VNS