Vietnam is facing a number of challenges in managing and conserving its marine protected areas, a workshop co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the General Department of Fisheries heard in Hanoi on October 21.

Vietnamese foresters still lack the necessary knowledge and law enforcement capacities, while tools and equipment for practical conservation measures have yet to meet the demand in island localities.

The exhaustion of natural resources in the surrounding areas is forcing local residents to illegally exploit natural resources in marine protected areas.

Experts suggested relevant offices review the planning of marine protected areas and re-evaluate the state of biodiversity with a view to making appropriate adjustments as the existing plan was made many decades ago.

Before establishing a marine protected area, authorities need to consider the locality’s socio-economic conditions to make sure conservation targets are realistically achievable, they said.

They also stressed the importance of engaging local residents in conservation.

Vietnam now has nine marine protected areas and plans to establish seven more in the 2015-2020 period.-VNA