The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has recently introduced a draft master plan on use of Vietnam’s sea through 2035 and its implementation plan for the 2017-25 period, aiming to coordinate sea-based sustainable socio-economic activities in line with the overall management of marine and island resources and environment.
Accordingly, the draft, which is built in accordance with Article 44 of the Law of the Sea of Vietnam and Law on Marine and Island Natural Resources and Environment, sets out three main groups of criteria for categorizing sea areas.
Draft master plan on use of Vietnam’s sea through 2035 proposes categorizing Vietnam's sea into 6 zones__Photo: Internet
The first group consists of criteria for conservation of coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, coral reefs, estuaries and bays, etc. The second group consists of economic development criteria such as advantages in natural conditions, resources and positions for developing sea-based economies including port services, waterways, tourism, fishing, etc. The third group includes national defense and security criteria of strategic location, protection of sovereignty, security and safety at sea.
Based on experience of foreign countries, the draft master plan proposes applying new planning methods, including zoning off functional sea areas based on their ecological values, natural resources and needs for use, conservation and protection of such areas; analyzing conflicts between conservation and development and among development models; analyzing sea management institutions, including policies and regulations on sea management, exploitation and use in coastal localities; and handling overlapping zones in the planning of the marine economy and conserving marine natural resources and environment.
In light of this, Vietnam’s sea would consist of six zones, namely special-use zone, coastal zone for special conservation and strong general economic development, coastal zone for conservation in combination with economic development, zone for oil and gas exploitation, fishing zone, and zone for other maritime activities.
Each zone would be specifically defined and categorized with activities allowed, disallowed or restricted to be conducted to help reduce contradiction in exploiting and using marine resources and coastal areas, contributing to protecting the environment and creating a legal ground for departments, branches and sectors of coastal localities to adjust their plans.
Commenting on the draft, experts said the draft needs to formulate an effective multi-sectoral coordination mechanism for sea and island management as well as the licensing, supervision and handling of violations of the regulations on the use of marine resources and environment.
They also suggested establishing a national system for control and handling of sea environment incidents.- (VLLF)