Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
 
 
Hanoi (VNA) – As the 21st century is considered an era of sea and ocean, many countries, including Vietnam, have paid heed to developing the sea-based economy and exploiting sea resources and spaces to promote their socio-economic growth while working to safeguard sovereignty and sovereign rights over sea and islands.

Vietnam has over 3,260 kilometres of coastline. The country’s exclusive economic zone covers about one million square kilometers, which is three times larger than its mainland area.

On average, each square kilometer of mainland goes with approximately 4 square kilometers of territorial sea, and every 100 square kilometers of mainland has one kilometer of coastline.

Coastal localities across the country have a combined area of 208,560 square kilometers, accounting for 51 percent of the country’s total area, and a population of more than 40 million, half of the country’s total.

Vietnam also has more than 3,000 islands and islets, mostly in the Northwest of the Tonkin Gulf, some lying near the coast of the central and south central regions, and two offshore archipelagos, which are Hoang Sa (Paracel) in the central city of Da Nang, and Truong Sa (Spratly) in the south central province of Khanh Hoa.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the total area of localities bordering the sea is about 6 million hectares, including more than 2 million hectares of farming land and about 1.8 hectares of forests.

There are about 250,000 hectares of mangrove forests spanning in the southern and northern coast and few are found to grow in the central region. A total area of 40,000 hectares of lagoon area spans central areas from Thua Thien - Hue to Binh Thuan, which is a good environment for aquaculture to thrive.

Alongside, there are about 290,000 hectares of tidal flat and tens of thousands of hectares of sand area along the central coasts.

Vietnam’s sea surface is from the coast of the northern district of Mong Cai to southernmost Ha Tien province while underground water in coastal areas and islands is plentiful, estimated to provide 14 million cubic meters per day.

Especially, oil reserves in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone have been evaluated to be abundant, having about 4 billion cubic meters of equivalent oil (as of the end of 2010).

Natural minerals in coastal areas as well as on islands have been valued as more than 300 mines and ore containing places, including 59 titan mines and places, have been discovered so far.

Statistics show that Vietnam has over 600 million tonnes of ilmenit titan ore, along with 13 mines of crystal sand with a reserve of over 144 million cubic meters. The coastal region also boasts a rich resource of minerals that are used to make construction materials, including limestone and rocks.

Up to 11,000 species of animals and plants have been found in more than 20 typical ecosystems in six different waters regions across the country. Among the species, about 6,000 species live in the seabed, and there are over 2,000 species of fish, 653 species of seaweeds and 657 species of zooplankton and 537 species of phytoplankton.

There are also 94 mangrove plants, 225 species of sea shrimp, 14 species of sea grass, 15 species of sea snakes, 12 species of sea animals and five species of turtle.

Coral reefs and seaweeds as well as other resources with high value have also been exploited in service of the socio-economic development of the coastal and island localities.

In addition to that, many other sea-related resources, including seaports, wind power, solar and tidal power, have also been explored to serve people’s life.

Generally, the quality of water in coastal localities, estuary and offshore is good, meeting the socio-economic development requirements. Typical ecosystems, including islands, sand dunes, estuaries, mangrove forests and lagoons, have contributed to the diversity of Vietnam’s sea, making the country one of the biodiversity hubs of the world.-VNA