The coral reefs at a nature reserve in Nha Trang City, south-central Vietnam were damaged by a powerful storm that hit the country last year, the site’s management board explained in response to multiple images depicting the poor condition of the reserve which were recently shared on social media.
A Facebook account named N.S. recently posted many photos of the Hon Mun Nature Reserve in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, stating that the venue had deteriorated in comparison to the last time he visited it in 2020.
There are no longer schools of fish, corals, anemones, and other types of marine life on the seabed, S. said.
The Facebook user also mentioned rumor that the management board has been allowing fishing boats to operate at the reserve.
|Dead corals at the Hon Mun Nature Reserve in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam are shown in this photo uploaded by a Facebook user.|
On Thursday last week, Huynh Binh Thai, head of the management board of Nha Trang Bay, where the Hon Mun Nature Reserve is located, stated that the powerful Storm Rai that struck the country in 2021 had severely damaged most of the coral reefs in the bay.
The photos shared on social media were not taken by the owner of the N.S. Facebook account, Thai continued, adding they belong to a local diving unit.
“The depletion of the coral reefs is the result of many factors, namely rising global temperatures, rains and storms, and outbreaks of pests aside from human intervention,” Thai elaborated.
|An illegal fishing boat at the Hon Mun Nature Reserve in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam is displayed in this photo uploaded by a Facebook user.|
Regarding the images of a fishing boat operating in the Hon Mun Nature Reserve, Thai explained that the incident took place in May.
The diving unit later reported the case to the management board, while the operator of the fishing boat has been booked for the violation.
The management board has only one boat and five people in charge of patrolling the area, whereas some fishermen have been operating in the reserve despite knowing that it is illegal.
Some violators even threatened the patrol unit with knives, Thai continued, adding that 49 illegal fishing cases were discovered in 2021 and the first half of 2022.
|An illegal fishing boat at the Hon Mun Nature Reserve in Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam is seen in this photo uploaded by a Facebook user.|
Meanwhile, Mai Hoang Kien Kha, a local diver with over 10 years of experience, doubted the likelihood that the corals in the Hon Mun Nature Reserve were damaged by the storm, as the site is not usually affected by strong winds.
Meanwhile, the coral reefs at Van Phong Bay, which is directly influenced by winds, is still in good conditions, Kha added.
Nguyen Tan Tuan, chairman of the Khanh Hoa People’s Committee, claimed that the administration has ordered grassroos-level authorities to sternly deal with illegal fishing in local nature reserves.
The Nha Trang Bay management board will work with the Institute of Oceanography and related organizations on necessary research aimed at restoring the coral reefs on the seabed, Tuan elaborated.