Aquaculture development to be planned no harm for coastal ecosystems

10 May 2000

Ha Noi - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Fisheries launched a project here this week that will help improve the management of coastal aquaculture to mitigate environmental impacts in the north-central coastal area of Viet Nam.

The Danish Trust Fund and UNDP are providing more than US$1 million for this project, which will be implemented in nearly three years.

"The project will assist farmers and government authorities in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Thua Thien Hue provinces to better plan for utilise natural resources through the development environmentally sound development of aquaculturebrackishwater management systems," said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Nicholas Rosellini, who signed the project on 9 May together with Vice Minister of Fisheries, Nguyen Viet Thang.

"We hope that the project will contribute to the many ongoing and planned Government efforts to promote sustainable socio-economic development along the coast," said Mr Rosellini.

These provinces are considered to be among the poorest provinces in Viet Nam. The government policy is to expand coastal aquaculture in this area - mainly for poverty alleviation, employment and export earnings. According to the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1, a total of 11,200 ha are suitable for shrimp, crab and fish culture in these provinces. However, aquaculture is relatively undeveloped in this area, compared to the southern and central areas.

"Some problems have already effected coastal shrimp aquaculture development in southern Viet Nam where, for example, in Minh Hai province, 60,000 ha (55%) of the mangrove forest area were lost to coastal aquaculture development during the 1980s. Similar problems could be repeated in the north-central coastal area unless urgent measures are taken to implement effective environmental management strategies for coastal aquaculture in this area," said Ms Nguyen Ngoc Ly, Head of UNDP Environment Unit.

Under the project, researchers from the Research Institute for Aquaculture No.1 will work with local farmers and communities to develop and test various environmental management systems for coastal aquaculture. These systems will then be disseminated through training and extension activities.

The institute will also work with the three each participating provinces to develop data and plans for balanced use of land and water resources for coastal aquaculture, incorporating environmental management strategies and measures to enhance positive social benefits and equity and to mitigate any negative environmental impacts of coastal aquaculture.

Through the project, extension workers at different levels in these provinces will have an increased awareness of environmental management of coastal aquaculture and the capacity to assist households in the implementation of profitable and environmentally sound coastal aquaculture farming systems.

Lessons learnt from the project will assist the Ministry of Fisheries and farmers and government authorities in other provinces to improve the environmental management of coastal aquaculture throughout Viet Nam.

Contact Information

UNDP Public Information Unit: (04) 942 1495