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Experts: One of Vietnam's Most Beautiful Reefs in is Danger; Explosives, Poisons, Overfishing to Blame

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HA LONG, Vietnam -- One of Vietnam’s most beautiful coral reefs is in danger due to environment-unfriendly fishing practices and overexploitation, said experts after a survey of northern Quang Ninh province recently.

The survey, conducted by the National Agency of Aquatic Resources Protection and participating oceanographers, said that up to 85 percent of the coral reef had died at Co To Island, some 150km off the coast of Ha Long city.

Chu Tien Vinh, head of the agency, said the major causes were human activities such as using explosives and poisons such as cyanide to fish.

In addition, the exhaustion of fish led to the rapid development of seaweed, which covers the coral reef and prevents photosynthesis, a process vital to coral.

Ships anchored around the reef also damaged the coral.

Vinh warned that the restoration of coral reefs around the island would call for great efforts, time and money.

In the first step, oceanographers have proposed the provincial fisheries department to ban fishing and prevent ships from anchoring there.

The marine specialists also called for fish to be restocked in the reef area.

If no urgent action was taken, Vietnam would lose its title as one of the countries with the most diversified coral reefs, Vinh warned.

The Co To archipelago off the coast of northern Vietnam includes about 15 islands, and has been listed among 15 protected national marine preservation areas by the Ministry of Fisheries.

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