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Vietnam sea poisoned by economic, tourism activities

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A conflict exists between the protection of fishery resources and the development of tourism and other business fields.

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has warned that the fishing output has exceeded the permitted limit by 30 percent, especially aquatic creatures of the bottom layer. While the average permitted exploitation limit is 2.45 million tons a year, the total exploitation output has reached 3.1 million tons.

MARD, after five years of surveying, has discovered that there are 1,200 aquatic species in Vietnamese waters.

MARD’s deputy minister Vu Van Tam commented that aquatic resources are being overridden  by the development of tourism and other business fields. 

“Marine protected areas (MPAs) are very attractive to travelers. However, if we cannot implement both tourism development and aquatic resource protection in a harmonious way, we won’t have no more resources to protect,” he warned.

To date, 10 out of 16 programmed MPAs have been set up. Under the initial plan, Vietnam would have 16 MPAs by 2015 and at least 0.24 percent of waters area would belong to MPAs, of which 30 percent of area needs strict protection. 

However, to date, only 0.18 percent of waters area belong to MPAs and only 10 percent has been put under strict protection. Even waters with coral reefs and high biodiversity such as Binh Dinh and Kien Giang have not been put under strict control. 

Bui Thi Thu Hien from IUCN said MPAs are polluted because of economic activities on the mainland. 

The MPAs in Nha Trang City in Khanh Hoa province, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang and Cu Lao Cham in Quang Nam are suffering from construction of tourism facilities. 

Meanwhile, the MPAs in Ha Long in Quang Ninh and Hon Cau in Binh Thuan are being threatened by onshore economic activities.

Tran Le Nguyen Hung, deputy director of the Department of Conservation and Development of Aquatic Resources, said that business projects are developed without care about environmental protection.

Investors want to build power plants and tourism projects in the core areas of MPAs and clear mangroves to set up construction works.

“The current laws focus on protecting and preventing pollution of the environment, but there are few regulations on the restoration and upgrading of aquatic resources and the quality of the living environment,” he said.

Nguyen Chu Hoi, former deputy general director of the Vietnam Sea and Islands Administration, said that, in the past, power plants projects pouring sludge and waste into the sea contaminated the sea. 

He said if Vietnam doesn’t apply drastic measures to protect the sea, the country in the future will have few resources to exploit.



Source: VietNamNet

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