Director of the Ly Son MPA Phung Dinh Toan said the area, 30km off the coast ofcentral Quang Ngai province, was included in the area for designation as a Global Geo-Park by UNESCO.

Illustrative image (Photo: Ly Son Marine Protected Area)

He said the five species – listed as endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – are threatened with extinction due to mass exploitation for seafood among fishermen in recent years.

The mass tourism boom and rapid development of concrete buildings and resorts in the islands over past decades also would result in damage and over-use of natural resources, seafood and fresh water sources, he added.

Toan said the five endangered species will be planned on strict protection in 2021-2025, and a list of 25 other endangered sea creatures would be added in the coming decades.

In 2018, Quang Ngai province allocated funds of 42 billion VND (1.8 million USD) to support ecosystem recovery and biodiversity supervision as well as strengthening the protection of the Ly Son Marine Protected Area for the 2018-2022 period.

The Ly Son MPA, one of 16 nationwide MPAs approved by the Prime Minister in a Master Plan, covers more than 7,900ha, including 7,113ha of seawater. It was home to 700 marine fauna species (coral reefs, fish, seaweed and crustaceans), of which 25 were endangered or in danger of extinction.

More than 400ha of land on the island had been seriously eroded by rising sea levels in the past 40 years.

The island, where 61 hotel and guest houses and 63 home-stay services were developed in the past few decades, hosts around 2,000 tourists each day.

Ly Son island, known as the Kingdom of Garlic in Vietnam, has around 22,000 inhabitants, of whom 73 percent make their living from farming garlic and spring onions, alongside fishing./.

CPV/VNA