Coral reef shot earns Vietnamese lensman second prize at international contest


In the world of photography, capturing captivating moments and breathtaking landscapes is an art form. Recently, a Vietnamese photographer, Nguyen Ngoc Thien, achieved great success with his photograph of a coral reef ecosystem on Yen Islet in the central province of Phu Yen. This remarkable shot secured him the second prize at the prestigious Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year Awards. Let’s delve into the beauty and significance of this photograph and explore the mesmerizing world of coral reefs.

1. The Award-Winning Photograph

Nguyen Ngoc Thien’s photograph showcases the stunning carpets of coral reefs that emerge during low tide on Yen Islet. Located approximately 15 kilometers north of Tuy Hoa, the capital town of Phu Yen, Yen Islet boasts a fragile and exquisite coral reef ecosystem. The image captures the vibrant colors and intricate patterns of the coral reefs, revealing the sheer beauty and diversity found beneath the surface of the ocean.

2. The Significance of Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are not just visually appealing but also play a vital role in maintaining the health of our oceans. These delicate ecosystems support a vast array of marine life and serve as nurseries for countless species. Additionally, coral reefs act as natural barriers, protecting coastlines from erosion and the destructive force of waves. The significance of preserving and protecting these valuable natural resources cannot be overstated.

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3. Fragility and Protection

Hon Yen, the location of the award-winning coral reef ecosystem, is home to particularly fragile coral reefs. Recognizing their vulnerability, strict government protection measures have been put in place to safeguard these precious marine habitats. Local authorities advise against walking on the coral reef surfaces as it could cause deformations or even lead to the destruction of the reefs and the displacement of marine species.

4. Vietnam’s Coastal Riches

Vietnam, with its 3,260 kilometers of coastline stretching from north to south, boasts an impressive expanse of coral reefs spanning over 1,100 square kilometers. The central region, in particular, offers a spectacular coral reef diving season from April to August. Explorers and diving enthusiasts flock to this region to witness the unparalleled beauty and marvel at the diverse marine life that inhabits the coral reefs.

5. The Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year Awards

The Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year Awards is a renowned international contest organized by the Australia-based Ocean Geographic Society and Ocean Geographic magazine. Celebrating its 10th edition, the contest attracted thousands of entries competing across 17 different categories. The competition provides a platform for talented photographers worldwide to showcase their skill and passion for capturing awe-inspiring moments from the world’s oceans.


Nguyen Ngoc Thien’s second prize-winning photograph beautifully captures the enchanting coral reef ecosystem of Yen Islet in Phu Yen. It serves as a reminder of the remarkable beauty and fragility of coral reefs, as well as the urgent need to protect these invaluable natural resources. Vietnam’s coastline is adorned with vast stretches of coral reefs, drawing tourists and marine enthusiasts to explore and appreciate their splendor. Through competitions like the Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year Awards, photographers like Nguyen Ngoc Thien can bring attention to the mesmerizing underwater world, inspiring others to appreciate and conserve our oceans.

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1. Why are coral reefs important?

Coral reefs are essential for marine biodiversity, acting as habitats for numerous species and providing protection for coastlines against erosion.

2. What makes coral reefs fragile?

Coral reefs are fragile due to their sensitivity to environmental changes, pollution, and physical damage caused by human activities.

3. Can coral reefs regenerate?

Coral reefs have the ability to regenerate if given the chance. However, the process is slow and heavily depends on favorable conditions.

4. How can individuals contribute to coral reef conservation?

Individuals can contribute to coral reef conservation by practicing responsible tourism, reducing carbon footprint, and supporting organizations dedicated to reef preservation.

5. Are coral reefs affected by climate change?

Yes, coral reefs are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and more frequent and severe coral bleaching events.