The management board of Nha Trang Bay in south central Khanh Hoa Province declared on Friday that all swimming and diving activities at Hon Mun Nature Reserve will be suspended beginning Monday next week and lasting until further notice.
The decision was made as a result of the recent bleaching, damage, and decline of many coral species at Hon Mun Nature Reserve and other areas in Nha Trang Bay.
According to the management board, the suspension of ocean leisure activities in the areas surrounding Hon Mun Nature Reserve is to comply with the notice issued by the People's Committee of Nha Trang on Friday.
The purpose of the suspension is to survey and evaluate the current situation, identify vulnerable locations, and develop a strategy to preserve the Nha Trang Bay Marine Protected Area in the near future.
According to Huynh Binh Thai, head of the management board, the suspension of swimming and scuba diving operations at Hon Mun Nature Reserve does not indicate the closure of the site.
After evaluating the current status, it is likely that the management board will recommend the resumption of swimming and scuba diving activities at locations where the marine ecosystems are well preserved.
According to the marine conservation regulations of the Nha Trang Bay Management Board, seven locations near Hon Mun Nature Reserve are currently permitted for giving swimming and scuba diving services.
Following reports on coral reef damage at Hon Mun Nature Reserve, the Khanh Hoa Party Committee issued an official statement early this week to recognize the situation, which went in line with several media reports previously.
Most coral reefs in Hon Mun Marine Protected Area are declining as a result of accumulated impacts over many years, including both objective and subjective factors.
The subjective cause is that the administration and coordination between relevant departments and the Nha Trang Bay Management Board have several limitations and shortcomings.
As a result, the provincial party committee urged that local authorities implement a variety of short-term and long-term solutions to protect and revive Nha Trang Bay.
Among the urgent measures are the suspension of scuba diving services for tourists in areas vulnerable to coral reef damage of Nha Trang Bay, including the Hon Mun Nature Reserve, and the zoning and preservation of environmentally susceptible areas.