Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Quy Kien has stressed the need to continue reviewing, evaluating and improving policies, regulations, strategies and planning schemes involving the management of natural resources and protection of marine environment.
There must be special attention paid to formulating legal documents on this matter, said Kien at a conference in Hanoi on July 11 to review the performance of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Island (VASI) in the first half of 2018.
Speaking at the event, VASI Director General Ta Dinh Thi said from January – June, the VASI directed its member units to promptly build legal documents and planning schemes on use of marine resources; and successfully hosted the Vietnam Sea and Islands Week 2018 to celebrate the World Ocean Day across the country as well as three events on the sidelines of the 6th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly in the central city of Da Nang last month.
The VASI has also kept a close watch on the news and public opinion about marine environment to produce timely responses to the issues. It has urgently proposed solutions to a number of incidents earlier this year such as sea water becoming back with brown foam and a foul smell along the Nguyen Tat Thanh beach in Da Nang, coastal erosion threatening Ham Tien – Mui Ne resort complex in Binh Thuan and rubbish flooding coastal protective forest in Hau Loc, Thanh Hoa, he reported.
In the final months of this year, the VASI plans to collect public feedback to complete sea and islands-related legal documents and submit them to competent authorities for review on schedule while cooperating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the Vietnam Coastal Guard in supervising and inspecting the observance of regulations related to marine resources management and marine environment protection, he noted.
It will also focus on making marine space planning and developing a master plan on how to use marine resources sustainably, the director general added.
The potential resources in Vietnam’s seashore, which stretches more than 3,260 km, are believed to be significant, playing an important role in the national development.
About 35 minerals with varying reserves, including fuel, metals, construction materials, precious and semi-precious gemstones, and liquid minerals have been discovered in the country’s coastal areas.
These areas also contain mineral sands and heavy minerals with rare elements like titanium (which has an annual output of 220,000 tonnes), zirconium and cerium (1,500 tonnes a year), and 60,000 hectares of salt fields.
The country’s coastal zones are home to more than 20 ecosystems of which submerged forests, coral reefs and sea-grass beds are most typical.
Among more than 125 beaches of all sizes, 20 beaches are internationally qualified for sea tourism. The tourism industry attracts nearly 15 million visitors to the country every year, including 3 million foreigners, posting an average annual growth rate of 13%.
While about 80% of Vietnam’s annual fish haul comes from inshore shallow waters, some 90% of shrimp output is farmed in the coastal brackish water areas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The scale of Vietnam’s sea-based and coastal economy between 2000 and 2005 is estimated at 30% of GDP. Economic sectors that directly relate to the exploitation of marine resources such as shipbuilding and repair, oil and gas processing, aquatic product processing, and communications have made substantial progress.
However, strong socio-economic development in coastal areas has been putting pressure on marine ecosystem conservation with development activities out of control of the local communities. Therefore, it is a must to soon have synchronous policies for the management of the country’s coastal areas.