Vietnam plans a dozen new marine reserves for next five years

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Vietnam will establish 11 new marine reserves by 2015 as part of a ten-year plan to protect sea ecosystems and biodiversity, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Some of the reserves along the country's 3,260-kilometer coastline will also be used to establish transnational reserves with the cooperation of other countries in the region.

The reserves will cover at least 0.24 percent of the country's sea area, of which 30 percent will be put under strict protection, according to a recent government decision on marine reserve zoning in Vietnam.

The full VND460 billion (US$24.2 million) project will be carried out through 2020, including an expected investment of VND420 billion from the government. The rest of the funds will be sourced from international and nongovernmental organizations.

During the first stage from 2010 to 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will conduct research and establish the 11 new reserves while reviewing and evaluating the country's five current marine reserves, including Nha Trang Bay in Khanh Hoa Province, Cham Island in Quang Nam, Phu Quoc in Kien Giang, Con Co in Quang Tri and Nui Chua in Ninh Thuan Province.

The program will also update the regulations that govern marine reserves, train officials in the field and improve awareness among coastal communities in protecting marine ecosystems.

The eleven new marine reserves to be set up by 2015 include: Dao Tran and Co To in Quang Ninh, Bach Long Vi and Cat Ba in Hai Phong, Hon Me in Thanh Hoa, Hai Van Son Son Tra in Thua Thien Hue and Da Nang, Ly Son in Quang Ngai, Nam Yet in Khanh Hoa, Phu Quy and Hon Cau in Binh Thuan and Con Dao in Ba Ria Vung Tau.

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