Marine spatial planning urgently needed to protect aquatic resources

VietNamNet Bridge – Socio-economic development activities and climate change are having an adverse effect on marine economic development, Ngo Tung Lam of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) said at a seminar held in HCM City last Friday (March 29).

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Young volunteers pick up plastic waste along Ba Dong Beach in Tra Vinh Province. Experts in HCM City are seeking a sustainable strategy for marine spatial planning to develop the marine economy. — VNS Photo Ngoc Diep


Lam said that about 96 per cent of coral reefs along the coastline are suffering from fishery exploitation activities. Of the figure, 75 per cent are at risk of being destroyed, which would lead to a decline in aquatic resources.

Tourism development is also contributing to the problem. Coastal water pollution, for example, occurs due to tourist boats and water sports facilities.

Vietnam’s marine space has a 3,260km coastline and more than 3,000 islands and two archipelagos, Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratly). Its marine ecosystems and coral reef ecosystems provide rich resources that should be protected and exploited in a sustainable manner.

Speaking at the seminar, Dr. Le Xuan Thuyen of Sai Gon University said that coastal area planning and management of coastal zones needed improvement. “Planning should focus on marine environment and resources, the value of marine ecosystems, and a reasonable and effective way of exploiting and using ocean resources.”

Swift action should be taken to resolve serious environmental pollution and degradation, he added.

In addition, more work should be done to prevent and control pollution caused by tourism activities, shipping, and mineral and fishing exploitation.

Prof Dr Nguyen Duc Hoa of Sai Gon University said the Government lacks a sufficient number of experts in marine spatial planning and management.

“Government agencies should conduct analysis of coastal areas to achieve sustainable development and environmental protection,” he said.

Ministries and branches have issued 40 action programmes on coastal roads and have set up 15 coastal economic zones and 16 marine protected areas, he said.

The coastal areas of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta run across seven provinces of Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang.

They face an increasing threat of saline instruction, flooding, drought, landslides, erosion and lack of fresh water, according to Dr Pham Gia Tran of HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

“These risks could lead to a decline of aquatic resources, affect the quality of the marine ecosystem, and affect livelihoods as well as people’s health and local economies.”

Farmers in the coastal areas in the delta region have carried out adaptation strategies, such as livelihood diversity and transformation of agricultural production. Providing guidance and policy support for farmers should be linked more closely to help them diversify their livelihoods, he said. 

Source: VNS

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