How the Marine Biodiversity is Improving in the South China Sea
There are areas of the planet that are having more success with marine preservation than others, and one happens to be Vietnam. Perhaps this is because the Vietnamese value the sea more than other countries, and in areas such as this the sea is a backbone of society and the whole economy. On the Ninh Hai coastline the local community has survived on fishing for generations. And Ninh Hai has the richest marine biodiversity of any place in Vietnam.
The coastal region of Ninh Hai has superb coral reefs, in fact there are over three hundred species that are home to three hundred different reef fishes and sea turtles. Unlike neighboring countries this coastline of Southeast Asia benefits from the cool waters of this part of the South China Sea which help to form this unique marine biodiversity.
Only a decade ago, the region’s marine life was under significant danger from illegal fishing and also the popular occupation of stealing the eggs of the sea turtles. The natural habitat was also being severely damaged by the building of two nearby fishing ports. But the local community decided enough was enough and wanted their waters back to how they once were.
Collaboration is the Key to Success
The residents of Ninh Hai knew to solve their problem and to restore their marine biodiversity to what it was there needed to be a collaboration of other entities. They enrolled the assistance of different government bodies and national park authorities, plus the backing of powerful supporters such as the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Environment Program. What was created was a large protected area around the South China Sea. This would ensure the preservation of the coral and marine life and would provide sustainable resources to the local community.
Teaching the Community
Key to the success of this program was to also teach the local communities that lived around Ninh Hai how they could also help protect the hand that fed them. Local people were educated not to scour for sea turtle eggs and uproot corals. Now there has been a definite improvement in the growth of fresh coral, and more sea turtles can be seen swimming in the waters. The locals have also arranged night patrols so that illegal night fishing is curbed, and how to remove starfish so they do not damage the coral.
The Future is Bright
This small corner of the South China Sea is showing the rest of the world how to reclaim and restore their marine biodiversity. And today in 2019 there are nearly two and a half thousand hectares of healthy coral reef. Over a thousand pieces of dead or hard coral has been removed and replanted with shoots from healthy living coral. This whole exercise was possible by educating the local people just how important their marine biodiversity actually was. And exactly how much the local marine environment affected their day-to-day lives. There is no reason why the lessons and successes of Ninh Hai cannot be repeated all over the world. And bit by bit we can get control of our oceans once again.