The marine protected areas not only serve for marine economic development, livelihood improvement for coastal residents but also play a very important role in preserving the national security.
An important natural resources ensuring green growth
According to the marine environment and natural resources experts, the marine protected areas play very important role for marine economic development, livelihood improvement of coastal residents and communities. It also contributes significantly to scientific research, community education, entertainment and eco-tourism; as well as to provide legal foundation and administrative tools in order to protect the national sovereignty and security in Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone; and to handle inter-national environment pollution of East Sea that concerned by the regional countries.
The Assoc. Professor Nguyen Chu Hoi, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Administration of Sea and Island said that about 70% of the marine protected area’s value is coral reefs known as pioneer ecosystem which is combined with other ecosystems to become ideal habitats for marine creatures. The conservation is considered as success if the resources of marine protected area is recovered after 3 to 5 years, then this effect is dispersed into surrounding areas (called as dispersed effect). As a result, the protected areas will become dispersed source of marine species, larvae, eggs, young fish, etc. and at the same time, are food for marine creatures in those areas and the surroundings.
Is is explained why protecting coral reefs will attract 3,000 creatures. Therefore, proper marine protected areas management will contribute to forming and developing a sustainable fishery. Assoc. Professor Nguyen Chu Hoi said.
Recognizing this issue, in 2010 the Prime Minister approved the Marine protected areas planning to 2020. The planning’s goal by 2015 is completion of Vietnam marine protected areas system. Thanks to the efforts, 9 out of total 16 marine protected areas have been established, including: Cat Ba, Bach Long Vy, Con Co, Cu Lao Cham, Nha Trang Bay, Nui Chua, Hon Cau, Con Dao, Phu Quoc.
However, according to Professor, Dr. Donald Macintosh, senior advisor of the Mangrove for the Future program (MFF), the Vietnam marine protect areas network is currently fragmented and small-scaled. Moreover, other factors can endanger to the marine protected areas such as increasing population, environment pollution, business activities…
Mr. Vu Van Dung, a special-purposed forest planning expert warned that the fact of management of the marine protected areas in separation with in-land protected areas, especially forest, can disrupt the ecosystem since their closed relationship (forest-marine). Therefore, “an appropriate mechanism is needed to protect the marine protected areas”, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Chu Hoi reaffirmed.
Specific policies needed for the marine protected areas
According to Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Chu Hoi, an appropriate mechanism is one of key factors to develop the marine protected areas. He said that during the integration period, these may have their own policies like economic zones opening for foreign investment, attracting local labours then they can contribute to natural resources preservation.
Appreciated role of local residents in developing marine protected areas, Prof. Dr. Donald Macintosh said that conservation in association with local residents’ livelihood can be high effectiveness. Accordingly, attention should be paid to people’s living in the protected areas such as water, environmental sanitation… especially consulting the local people’s opinion from the planning to implementing periods.
Besides, Since Vietnam marine protected areas lack of connection to each other and are small-scaled, Vietnam should learn experience from other countries to strengthen marine conservation, and to extend existing protected areas. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed that the investigation, data updating to supplement potential marine protected areas into the planning in order to expand Vietnam marine conservation area.