|A beautiful beach of Ly Son Island in central province of Quang Ngai. The central province plans to create a 7,900ha sea reserve off the coast of Ly Son Island and Binh Chau Commune before awarding it Global Geopark status. — Photo daolyson.info
QUANG NGAI (VNS) — The central province plans to create a 7,900ha sea reserve off the coast of Ly Son Island and Binh Chau Commune before awarding it Global Geopark status.
Nguyen Dang Vu, director of the provincial culture, sports and tourism department, said the conservation measures are the first step in a plan to establish a larger sea reserve in the region. He said the province has allocated VND36.4 billion (US$1.7 million) to complete the project between 2016 and 2020.
"It's very necessary for preservation of ancient, precious treasure under the sea water in a large area of the island – 30km off the coast of the province – and sea water area of the commune, which is home to many ancient shipwrecks from the 10th to 18th centuries," Vu said.
Vu said the department has been compiling scientific data and documents to cement the area's status as a national and Global Geopark.
Two years ago, two trading vessels that were used about 700 years ago were discovered off the coast of Binh Chau in Binh Son District.
Ceramic and stone artefacts from an old shipwreck were also discovered during a deep water excavation near the islet of An Binh, located 3km from Ly Son Island.
Archaeologists believe the ceramic pieces date back to the 15th century, while the stone fragments are thought to come from the Champa Kingdom in the 13th century.
The Doan Anh Duong Company, which was assigned by the Quang Ngai authorities to survey the area, also discovered a large coral reef complex and stone arch in the water.
Vu said it is believed that the arch, discovered last year off the coast of Ly Son Island, was formed naturally 250 million years ago at the same time the island was created by four volcanoes, which are now dormant.
Vu said the conservation efforts would preserve the area for future exploration.
"The plan also helps protect coral reefs, rocks and underwater archaeological research and tourism centre in the near future," he said.
Doan Sung, director of Doan Anh Duong Company, said a 50sq.km area of coral reefs in Ly Son and Binh Chau can be developed as an eco-tourism and scuba diving site.
As scheduled, the province will host a conference to evaluate the regional waters and surrounding rocks and coral reefs later this year. — VNS