Local community takes lead in protecting Binh Dinh's coral reefs

In a bid to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems, authorities in south-central Binh Dinh province, last year, set aside four areas of coral reefs to be managed by local organisations and communities.

A view of coral reefs along coastal areas of Binh Dinh province (Photo: VNA)
A view of coral reefs along coastal areas of Binh Dinh province (Photo: VNA)

Climate change, over development, and seafood exploitation are threatening the life of coral reefs in a number of coastal areas in the province.

Dua Beach in Nhon Ly Commune, for example, is well known for its diverse and distinct coral reefs. It covers a total area of over eight hectares, however, only one hectare is strictly protected by local authorities due to a lack of resources.

To ensure the remaining seven hectares are protected from damage caused by fishing vessels and tourists, and to raise public awareness of the threats coral reefs face among the local community, the Quy Nhon city People’s Committee, last February, decided to hand over management of the area to the Group of Seafood Resources Protection (GSRP), a local community group.

Members went to work almost straight away and zoned off the areas with coral reefs by installing buoys to monitor and alert fishermen and tourists of their location so that they are able to avoid making contact.

The GSRP, in conjunction with Nhon Chau island commune, has been entrusted to manage and protect 12ha of coral reefs in the west of Hon Kho island and a 20ha area of coral reefs near Tuoc beach.

Buoys have been planted and vessels have been banned from exploiting fisheries in this area in order to protect the coral reefs and allow aquatic resources to breed and regenerate.

When the coral reefs are better protected, it will help to attract more tourists, Sáng said.

Apart from supporting these groups to protect the coral reefs, local officials are also regularly monitoring the health of the marine ecosystem by utilising local communities who are most familiar with the areas.

Coral reef ecosystems are a habitat for marine species, and help keep marine ecosystems in balance. They provide habitats and food for fish and their destruction may lead to the extinction of some species, scientists have warned.

The Binh Dinh Fisheries Association, in 2018, introduced a project titled "Management and conservation of coral reef ecosystems associated with ecotourism development in Nhon Hai commune” to help raise awareness of the threats posed to coral reefs. It encourages local communities to become involved in their protection and promotes sustainable ecotourism to ensure coral reefs can be enjoyed long into the future.