Five (5) Years of Implementing the Vietnam Marine Turtle Conservation Action Plan (19-04-2021)

Over the last five years, there have been positive and noticeable improvements in the conservation and security of sea turtles; recognition of management agencies and the whole community has increased; and the prevention and fight of law violations relating to sea turtles are well enforced at the central and local levels. The legal framework for sea turtle protection has basically been completed and meet the requirements of international economic integration.
Five (5) Years of Implementing the Vietnam Marine Turtle Conservation Action Plan

On March 14, 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development released Decision No. 811 / QD-BNN-TCTS authorizing the “Action plan for turtle protection Vietnam Sea 2016-2025 duration in order to effectively and sustainably conserve and protect sea turtle species and their habitats in Vietnam.”

As a result, in the 2016-2020 timeframe, focus on completing the system of legal documents for sea turtle protection and conservation; Improving and implementing fishing gears to protect sea turtles, at least 3% of trawlers use turtle escape equipment (TED); The natural spawning grounds of sea turtles have been protected to the fullest extent possible. Con Dao National Park becomes a member of The IOSEA Marine Turtle Site Network (The IOSEA Marine Turtle Site Network). The sea turtle rescue station was developed and successfully operated in the provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Khanh Hoa; all captains involved in trawl nets, gill nets, fin nets, and tuna fishing are trained to raise awareness and skills in sea turtle safety and conservation.

The period of 2020-2025: At least 5% of gill net ships and 10% of trawlers use turtle escape equipment (TED). The habitat of sea turtles is fully protected; Complete the framework of agencies, processes, and strategies for sea turtle protection in compliance with the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Biodiversity. A sea turtle database has been completed and connected the General Department of Fisheries to National Parks, Marine Protected Areas and local Fisheries Sub-Departments.

The following are the five key objectives outlined in the marine turtle conservation plan: (1) Reduce the causes of death in sea turtles: Apply techniques and upgrade fishing gear to minimize turtle sea; establishment of no-take zones to protect breeding areas and sea turtle habitats; Increase cooperation with related agencies and organizations (Fisheries, Forest Protection, Coast Guard, Environmental Police, Border Guard, Market Management, Customs, etc) in investigation, inspection, examination, protection and conservation of sea turtles; (2) Establish, maintain, and protect sea turtle breeding habitats and areas: Maintain the current status of sea turtle breeding grounds; Training on strategies for preserving and maintaining sea turtle breeding grounds should be coordinated. Constructing a model of a sea turtle conservation area and a sea turtle hatching area in accordance with international standards (in Con Dao); Sea turtle rescue and habitat protection; periodic survey survey defines distribution area, number, age structure, and species composition of sea turtles; creating and updating maps of sea turtle habitat in Vietnamese waters; Completing the network of marine protected areas in accordance with Prime Minister's Decision 742 / QD-TTg dated May 26, 2010 authorizing the marine conservation system planning up to 2020; (3) Develop and complete state management documents on sea turtle survival and protection; Observing and researching the biological and ecological features of sea turtle mouths; (4) Raising community awareness and professional ability for specialist personnel in marine turtle conservation; (5) Strengthening regional and international collaboration to control illegal trade in sea turtles and sea turtle products; researching, assessing viability, and establishing an inter-border marine turtle conservation area.

There are a total of six groups of solutions for implementation: (1) Mechanism and policy; (2) Science and technology; focusing on advanced science and technology research, development, and application with a breakthrough in genetic resource management; (3) Raising awareness through training, education, and communication; encouraging community participation in sea turtle conservation; and encouraging non-governmental organizations and international organizations to engage, organize, and sponsor. (4) Raising awareness about sea turtle protection through social media; (5) International cooperation; (6) Investment: Upgrading of technical facilities of centers and research institutes; building of two sea turtle rescue stations in the provinces of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Khanh Hoa.

The following departments and divisions are involved in the implementation process: The Directorate of Fisheries, the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, the Planning Department, the Finance Department, the Department of Science, Technology, and the Environment, the Seafood Research Institute, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of coastal provinces and towns, and national parks and marine protected areas. Fisheries Associations, Associations and Unions; Domestic and international organizations involved in sea turtle conservation.

The results of the Action Plan for Vietnam Sea Turtle Conservation's five-year implementation

Mr. Tran Dinh Luan - General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, will chaired the 5-year preliminary conference on the implementation of the Action Plan for Turtle Conservation on November 13, 2020, at Con Dao National Park (Ba Ria - Vung Tau province) for the period 2016-2025, the Vietnam Sea.

Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Science, Technology, and Environment, as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's Department of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity, attended the meeting, as did representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries: Aquatic Resources Conservation and Development Department, Office of Directorate of Fisheries; Representatives of research institutes: Fisheries Planning and Economics, Marine Resources and Environment, Oceanography; Representatives of the Fisheries Sub-Departments of the provinces: Binh Thuan, Soc Trang, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Kien Giang and Ho Chi Minh City; representatives of Management Boards of Marine Protected Areas and National Parks: Bai Tu Long, Bach Long Vi, Cat Ba, Con Co, Cu Lao Cham, Nui Chua, Hon Cau, Con Dao; representatives of authorities and authorities of Con Dao district: People's Committee, People's Court, Police of Con Dao district and representatives of some non-governmental organizations in Vietnam: IUCN, WWF, TRAFFIC, HSI, FFI, ENV, CCD, etc.

General Director – Mr. Tran Dinh Luan appreciated the efforts of the Directorate of Fisheries, local fisheries state management agencies, and non-governmental organizations in Vietnam at the Conference. According to the Director General, sea turtle conservation and protection have resulted in substantive and noticeable improvements, awareness of management agencies and the whole society has been improved. Preventing and combating law violations involving sea turtles is well practiced at the national and local levels. The legal framework regulating sea turtle protection is nearly complete, meeting the requirements for international economic integration of Vietnam's fisheries sector. The results of research on the current status, distribution, biology, and ecology of sea turtles, the effects of fishing careers on sea turtles, and the creation and implementation of scientific and technological solutions, enhancements to fishing equipment for limiting impacts on sea turtles initially yields promising results in terms of protecting sea turtles in marine protected areas and national parks, as well as decreasing the incidence of accidental sea turtle fishing in certain fishing careers.

However, there are still difficulties and challenges in the conservation and protection of sea turtles, such as: overlapping regulations on sea turtle protection; a small budget allocated for the implementation of priority tasks and projects, resulting in insufficient or inconsistent implementation, and thus low efficiency. The action plan for sea turtle conservation lacks material to monitor and prevent illegal hunting, capturing, raising, locking, shipping, and selling of sea turtles, as well as detecting and managing violations related to sea turtles; there is no cooperation of law enforcement forces in sea turtle safety.

In order to effectively implement the contents and tasks of the National Action Plan for Vietnam Sea Turtle Conservation 2016-2025 and achieve the goals set out in Prime Ministerial Decision 1176 / QD-TTg dated September 12 in 2019 on the approval of the Program on Conservation of Endangered Tortoises of Vietnam to 2025, with a vision to 2030. At the same time as meeting the requirements of international economic integration and the preservation of vulnerable, valuable, and rare species, General Director Tran Dinh Luan delegated primary responsibility for, and coordination with, units under the General Department to the Department of Aquatic Resources Conservation and Development and relevant organizations and individuals to continue implementing the following tasks: To enhance the propagation and distribution of legal provisions concerning the protection and conservation of sea turtles and their habitats; to establish and apply for approval to competent authorities a communication and education program to raise awareness about sea turtle conservation; and to introduce a communication and education program to raise awareness about sea turtle conservation. Proposing and perfecting a system of state management documents for sea turtle conservation; researching and proposing legislation for tracking unintentional exploitation of sea turtles, such as observers on fishing boats, logging in fishing, using turtle escape mechanisms on fishing gears, limiting and mitigating unintentional exploitation of sea turtles to preserve sea turtles and meeting the requirements of import markets for Vietnamese seafood originating from fishing.

In addition, using satellite navigation equipment, research and develop fishing gear, monitor migration routes and concentrated feeding and reproduction areas of sea turtle populations; The current distribution of sea turtles, breeding sites, ecological characteristics, and genetics of Vietnamese sea turtle populations are being investigated, assessed, and mapped. Image identification (PhotoID), remote sensing technology, geographic information systems (GIS), and digital maps are examples of digital technology that can be used in the management and protection of sea turtles. To improve the security of sea turtles, study and suggest the establishment of marine conservation zones, aquatic resource protection zones, and areas where fishing is prohibited for a fixed period of time. Propose and develop a system to collaborate with law enforcement agencies such as the Coast Guard, Navy, and Border Guard to protect sea turtles and their habitats, as well as to rapidly track, deter, and respond to law violations involving sea turtles. Con Dao National Park should be coordinated, supported, and instructed to fully incorporate representatives of the IOSEA network of marine turtles and marine protected areas and national parks with marine conservation in good performance in marine turtle conservation. Encourage international collaboration with international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and partner countries to mobilize funds and technical assistance for sea turtle conservation.

Le Mai (theo

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