Vietnam’s fisheries are largely small-scale with about 85% of fishing vessels in the country operating in near-shore areas. They are however significantly overfished, primarily due to overcapacity of the fishing fleet. In simple terms, there are “too many fishers chasing too few fish”. As a result, earnings from fishing activities are decreasing, and often are not enough to cover fishing costs, threatening food security, poverty rates, livelihoods and social stability and the marine ecosystems.
Addressing the overexploitation of fisheries resources in Vietnam however presents a formidable challenge:
- livelihoods of eight million people depend on these fisheries as a primary income source
- additionally, 12 million receive part of their income or subsistence from fisheries; and
- there are few alternative sources of employment in many coastal communities,
Since 2015 ADMCF has been supporting local partner, Centre for Marine life Conservation and Community Development (MCD), in its efforts to reduce overfishing and improve the resilience of small-scale fisheries by piloting the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in Vietnam and specifically in Binh Dinh Province, on the central coast.
Binh Dinh has proven to be a good example of how as part of EAFM, co-management can be adopted to sustainably manage marine resources. MCD has worked to provide technical advice to the Department of Fisheries to introduce “Co-Management” into the new Fisheries Law, which was adopted in November 2017. Additionally, MCD has assisted the government in writing Decrees on both co-management and marine protected areas (MPA’s) based on the EAFM pilot. Under the regulations of co-management documented in the law, local community groups now have legal recognition to carry out protection of open-access marine areas in partnership with the government.
Looking forward, MCD aims to create case studies based on these on-going pilots of improved small-scale fisheries management, to inform other provinces.
China, Global, Hong Kong
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