Living Viet

Silent warriors protect the Cham islands

Members of the Cham Islands sea surveillance team dive into the deep sea every day to protect the marine ecosystem. This helps create an ideal environment for the habitation and breeding of sea animals and plants.
The Cham Islands Marine Protected Area is the core zone of the Cham Islands Biosphere Reserve in Quang Nam province. The 2,471ha area is home to sea and forest ecosystems with coral reefs, seagrass and special-use forests. The area has over 311 coral reefs with around 300 species, mostly soft coral, with an average coverage rate of 41%. There are also 50 hectares of seagrass with five specific species and an average coverage of 15-25%. The ecosystem here boasts 76 seaweed species, over 270 fish species, 97 mollusks species, and 11 spiny-skin species.

The sea surveillance team measures the area of coral reefs. Photo: Phong Thu

During their diving trip, the team members also pick up plastic waste sticking to coral reefs. Photo: Tat Son

The team has contributed to protecting the Cham Islands' ecosystem. Photo: Tat Son

Facts and statistics are recorded in detail on the sea bed. Photo: Phong Thu

Coral specimens will be transplanted, cultured and multiplied in a separate area. Photo: Tat Son 

Coral is crossbred by the team at the sea bottom. Photo: Phong Thu

The marine ecosystem on the Cham Islands has been preserved almost intact, partly thanks to the efforts of 18 members of the sea surveillance team under the management board of the Cham Islands Marine Protected Area.

Every day, Nguyen Thi Thuy Hong and Tran Thi Phuong Thao join their teammates in a diving trip to the bottom of the sea to record and monitor all movements in conserved places. Carrying heavy diving cylinders and wearing lead weight belts, they plunge into the water, diving for hours.

Thuy Hong has a pale complexion from soaking in cold water all day. Hong said her underwater work is challenging with unexpected incidents such as undercurrents, exhaustion or the breakdown of the diving cylinder. The job is particularly hard when big waves or strong winds occur.

The silent sacrifice and love for their job as members of the sea surveillance team, have largely contributed to protecting the eco-environment of the core zone of the Cham Islands, a world biosphere reserve. Many coral reefs have been restored and developed, creating an ideal habitat for sea animals such as sea turtles and whales.

By Thanh Hoa, Tat Son & Son Tung

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