Vietnam Authorities Suspend Diving to Inspect Shrinking Coral in Nha Trang Bay

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A bleached reef.

Mun Island Marine Protected Area in Nha Trang Bay is now closed to scuba diving tours while experts survey damaged coral reefs. 

VNExpress reported this week that diving tours are now suspended in Nha Trang Bay’s Mun Island Marine Protected Area in Khanh Hoa Province.

According the bay management board, this downtime is necessary so that experts can survey the area’s coral reefs for damage. Whether the area will reopen to divers will depend on the results of that survey.

The Mun Island Marine Protected Area is Vietnam’s first marine conservation project. It was established in 2001 and encompasses 160 square kilometers and nine islands. 

An inspection of the reef earlier this year found that the reef’s coral had shrunk as much as 54 percent since 2015. Local authorities have blamed the reduction on powerful storms in recent years, as well as man-made problems, namely climate change. Construction, dredging, and illegal fishing, are also believed to contribute to the problem. 

Coral reefs are crucial to the health of both local economies and the environment as a whole.