Shallow water habitats of Hon Mun marine protected area, Nha Trang bay, Viet Nam: Distribution, extent and status 2002
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Alternative TitleCác hệ sinh thái biển của khu bảo tồn biển Hòn Mun: Phân bố và hiện trạng 2002
AbstractThe recently gazetted Hon Mun Marine Protected Area, Nha Trang Bay, Khanh Hoa Province, central-southern Vietnam supports a diverse array of coastal and marine habitats - coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove stands, sandy beaches, cobble-boulder beaches and rocky shores - in a relatively small area (160 km2). Distribution and extent of habitats is related to the mainland - oceanic gradient, degree of physical exposure, influence of the Cai River, and the different geomorphological and topographic features of the nine continental islands in the MPA. Seagrass beds, composed by at least seven species, and with cover ranging from < 10 % to > 75 %, are well developed in sheltered sandy-muddy areas on W. and N. coasts of Hon Mieu and Hon Tre. Small mangrove stands (< 1 ha), composed of three species, also occur in sheltered inter-tidal areas of the deeply-incised bays of N. and S. Hon Tre. Coral communities, occasionally with high living cover (~ 50 %), are distributed around most islands, although of generally small areal extent and with little true reef development, as most communities occur directly on sub-littoral boulders and island bedrock. Highest average hard coral cover (> 50 %) was developed on Hon Mun, Hon Cau and Hon Vung, justifying their selection as 'Core Zones' in the Temporary Zoning Plan for Hon Mun MPA. Highest cover of recently dead corals (~ 10 % on average and approaching 100 % in patches) was on S. and N. Hon Tre and S. Hon Vung, mostly caused by predation by crown-of-thorns sea stars and destructive fishing methods (blasting and poisons). Other threats and impacts include anchor tourist & diver damage; bioerosion by sea-urchins; coral diseases; sediments, nutrients and other pollutants in flood run-off, shipping; and coral bleaching. Overfishing poses the most urgent threat, both directly through destructive methods and indirectly through complex cascading effects on community ecology. Few locations with abundant demersal fishes remain in MPA coastal waters, the result of extensive and intensive over-exploitation, both legal and illegal. The N.E. coast of Hon Tre supports seagrass beds and mangroves, key habitats not included in MPA Core Zones at present. Providing that local village support can be engendered and adequate enforcement assured, conservation of representative examples of these key habitats should help in replenishment of brood stocks and restocking of commercially and artisanally exploited species, and facilitate ecologically sustainable use of these renewable natural resources.
JournalCollection of Marine Research Works