posted Feb 18, 2014, 4:20 AM by SUSDEC A   [ updated Feb 18, 2014, 4:20 AM ]

Vietnam has a coastline of over 3260 kms  with over 3,000 islands and archipelagos, the exclusive economic zone is more  than  1 million square kms, which is  extremely favorable for the exploitation and development of the marine economy. Vietnam sea converges ecosystems of shallow water such as mangrove forests, coral reefs, sea grass.

Coastal and island areas of Vietnam  are  the natural habitat of aquatic species, water birds, migratory birds, plants and animals on the islands, resident species,  in which there are 692 phytoplankton species, 657 species of zooplankton, 94 species of mangrove plants, 14 species of sea grass, 653 species of algae, 6377 species of large benthic invertebrates  (2523 species of mollusc,1647  species of crustacean, 714 species of intestinal cavity, 734 species of annelid,  384 species of echinoderm and many other benthic groups), about 2175 species of sea fish (including 779 species of reef fish), 21 species of marine reptiles, 21 species of mammals sea​​, 43 species of seabird (and there are about 200 species of migratory birds  in winter), there are more than 20 typical types of coastal and marine ecosystem belonging to 6  different marine biodiversity .

            However, the marine ecosystems are degrading. Most of the coastal ecosystems of Vietnam are at risk of degradation due to overexploitation, severely threatened by waste pollution, sedimentation and pollution by oil spill.

Coral reef ecosystems are distributed in coastal areas, islands around the continental shelf, Cô Tô islands, Hạ Long – Cát Bà, Bạch Long Vĩ,  Cù Lao Chàm Islands, Van Phong , Nha Trang, coastal Ninh Hải (Ninh Thuận), and Cà Ná bays, Phú Quý, Côn Đảo, Phu Quốc  islands, Nam Du and two offshore islands Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa. According to Institute of Natural Resources and Environment, on the basis of measurements at 20 points along the coast, including Hạ Long Bay, Central Coast and the islands of Côn Đảo, Phú Quốc, the reef area remains about 14,130 hectares .

According to the research results of  Nha Trang Oceanographic Institute,  from 1994 to 2007,  the  coral coverage reduced in the range from 2.8 to 29.7% (average 10.6%), especially in Con Dao sea , coastal areas  of Ninh Hải - Ninh Thuận and Nha Trang bay.

            In the context of the degradation of  ecosystem and marine biodiversity, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 742/QD-TTg dated May 26, 2010 approving of the planning system of marine protection areas  by 2020 including  16 parks with an area of 169 617 hectares  of sea area. Under this plan, the goal by 2015, there should be at least 0.24% of Vietnam's waters in marine protected areas and about 30% of each marine protected area should be strictly conserved. There have been five marine protection areas  that come put into operation as Nha Trang bay, Cu Lao Cham, Nui Chua, Phú Quốc and Cồn Cỏ. 

Lê Mai