Viet Nam has so far had five operational marine reserves, namely Nha Trang Bay (Khanh Hoa province), Cu Lao Cham (Quang Nam province), Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province), Con Co (Quang Tri province) and Nui Chua (Ninh Thuan province).
The nation expects to have 11 more marine reserves by 2015. They will be Dao Tran and Co To (Quang Ninh province), Bach Long Vi and Cat Ba (Hai Phong city), Hon Me (Thanh Hoa province), Hai Van-Son Tra (Thua Thien-Hue province - Da Nang city), Ly Son (Quang Ngai province), Nam Yet (Khanh Hoa province), Phu Quy and Hon Cau (Binh Thuan province) and Con Dao (Ba Ria-Vung Tau province).
Covering an area of 160sq.km, Hon Mun (Nha Trang Bay) is Viet Nam’s first sea reserve and it has been recognised by the World Wide Fund for Nature having the most abundant marine biological diverse in the country. Around 350 coral species of the world’s total of more than 800 species have been seen in Hon Mun and it is home to 1,500 species of corals and marine creatures among the world’s list of around 2,000.
Meanwhile, the Cu Lao Cham marine reserve, with eight islands covering 15.5sq.km, is home to 200 coral species, including six rare species that were first found in Viet Nam’s sea and islands.
The establishment of marine reserves will enable the strict preservation of the bio-diversity and rare genes of flora and fauna species in these areas.
However, the sea eco-system has shown signs of fast degradations, particularly in coastal areas in recent years. The degradation of the sea ecosystem has made impacts on the national economic development plan as well as the livelihoods of coastal fishermen communities. The major reasons are overexploitation, increasing environmental pollution and the devastation of aquatic produces in these areas.
To protect the biodiversity in general and the sea ecological systems in particular and together with the international community in the global strategy, the Government has approved a master plan on the marine reserve system until 2020 with specific targets for two stages. The goals for the 2010-2015 period include finalising Viet Nam’s marine reserve system, building detailed plans for establishing and putting into operation an additional 11 marine reserves and reviewing and adjusting the planning of existing marine reserves.
In the 2016-2020 period, the country will conduct research on expanding the marine reserve system; investigating, surveying and establishing and putting into operation a number of new marine reserves; monitoring marine reserves’ sea aquatic resources, biodiversity and ecosystem; developing the community-based management model to get the local community, domestic and foreign organisations and individuals involved in building and managing marine reserves for effective exploitation and utilisation, creating an impetus for economic development for the local community while contributing to sea ecological environment protection./.