|Bank erosion from illegal sand mining threatens the ecology of Huong River in Thua Thien - Hue Province, where there is a programme site sponsored by PEMSEA in Viet Nam. — VNS Photo Phuoc Buu
DA NANG — Viet Nam needs to develop a clear strategy for integrated coastal management at a time when waters nears its shore are facing ecological damage from overexploitation and pollution.
Experts have urged the country to set up an action plan to manage the 3,400km coastline to deal with these issues.
According to Dr Nguyen Le Tuan from Viet Nam's Institute of Seas and Islands Research, endemic species near the coast, including coral, had disappeared, and pollution in coastal areas was rising at an alarming level.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung of Natural Resources Conservation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development highlighted the problem, saying: "Seafood resources are near exhaustion due to overexploitation."
Dung said the annual increase of seafood export turnover, from US$1 billion in 1990 to $8 billion, for marine ecological degradation that could affect five million labourers working in the seafood sector, aside from the environmental impacts.
Dr Tuan urged for compliance of laws regarding the sea and island environment, which include codes on integrated coastal management, issued earlier this year.
Viet Nam Administration of Seas and Islands Deputy Director Vu Si Tuan said the legal framework was sound but the country needed to fulfill the coastal management strategy and learn from other countries.
"We need a master plan that works effectively to utilise potential manpower from locals," he said, emphasising that the country had 20 years experience in the field.
He also called for international assistance, especially from the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA).
PEMSEA's Nancy Bernas-Atrigento encouraged the sharing of practical experiences of integrated coastal management from site to site, with a focus on geographical similarities between localities such as Quang Nam, Da Nang and Thua Thien - Hue.
She said Viet Nam had a sound basis for scaling up the successful models thanks to integrated coastal management practices and policies, legal framework and long-term strategy to 2020.
PEMSEA is sponsoring those programmes at 14 sites, including one river embankment, pollution reduction and water conservation on the Huong River in Thua Thien - Hue and others in marine coastal ecology.
The experts delivered these remarks at a forum held yesterday by PEMSEA at the ongoing East Asian Seas Congress in Da Nang. The congress will continue today with the closing ceremony for its international conferences on marine transport, a ‘blue economy' and coastal governance and management.
Ministers from participating countries will hold more forums and field trips the next day before wrapping up the congress. — VNS