Vietnam to focus on economic development of sea, islands

A strategically important meeting was held on November 14 by the Central Department for Propaganda and Training, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Party Committee in Da Nang City to discuss the economic development of the sea and islands.

A fishing fleet in the central region (Photo: SGGP)

At the meeting, the General Statistics Office provided an overall view on seafood exploitation in Vietnam for the last 20 years.

Vietnam’s coastline stretches across 3,260km with 112 estuaries, each 100 square meters of sea area covers a kilometer of the coastline and every 30km of coastline has an estuary.

Twenty eight out of 63 provinces and cities in the country are located along coastal areas. These 28 localities have 44 million residents, accounting to 50 percent of the country’s population.

This makes Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone cover more than one million square kilometers, three times more than the inner mainland area.

Vietnam’s sea has more than 3,000 islands. Several of these are inhabited such as Van Don, Cat Ba, Phu Quy, Con Dao and Phu Quoc.

Duong Long Tri, director of the Seafood Information Center under the Department of Aquaculture said that seafood has become the most important sector for boosting the national economy with growth rate of 6.1 percent in 2011.

Vietnam ranks 11th in seafood exploitation, third in seafood breeding and fourth in seafood exports in the world. The Government has introduced policies to encourage fishermen to build larger vessels, so as to stay on sea waters for a longer duration.

In 2011, the country had 129,400 boats. The number of boats with capacity of more than 90CV increased from 1,000 in 1997 to 24,510 in 2011.

By September this year, the country had 3,156 fishing groups, who not only catch fish but also organize logistics and assist teams to conduct search and rescue operations at sea.

Some delegates at the meeting said that Vietnam’s assessment of seafood reserves and forecasts of fishing grounds show limitations and lack of synchronization, which will negatively impact exploitation planning and organization.

The numbers of fishing boats have increased far too quickly, especially the smaller vessels, which has led to over-excessive exploitation.

Total capacity of boats in the country was 7.22 million CV in 2011, up 10 times compared to that in 1990 while the exploitation output increased only 3.3 times. Besides, technology to preserve harvested seafood is rather simple.

The Department of Aquaculture is of the view that larger vessels should be developed to sail out for longer durations at sea and contribute to protecting the security of the sea and islands. The Government should also have policies to protect fishermen from hazardous risks at sea.

For their sea and islands strategy till 2020, Vietnam will target growth and economic development of the sea, islands and coastal areas so that in future they will contribute upto 53-55 percent towards the country’s GDP.

By Nguyen Hung – Translated by Hai Mien

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