Local authorities turn “deaf ears” on proposals on sea protection
At a meeting with the press, Truong Kinh, Director of the Nha Trang Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA) said the MPA nearly does not have its voice in the issues relating to the economic development of the locality.
“Our proposals on sea protection have been ignored when the localities grant investment licenses to tourism projects,” Kinh said.
“Especially, in the eyes of investors, we are like the big hindrances for their investment projects, while in the eyes of many local people, we are the obstacles for the local economic development,” he added.
Also according to Kinh, as for the tourism, resort and hotel projects on the Hon Tre Island, which are located in the territory of the MPA, but the MPA’s management board cannot “put hand into the projects”. It cannot carry out the management work within its jurisdiction.
The investors said “don’t poke your nose into others’ business,” affirming that they do not have to consult with the MPA, because they just have to follow the business law.
The project on Nha Trang sea conservation, as Kinh pointed out, cannot meet the requirements for the regional sea protection. “Our suggestions about the policies to be applied to the MPA have always been put aside, because policy makers do not understand them, while leaders also do not understand.” Kinh complained.
When the project on Nha Trang Bay preservation entered the second phase (2006-2011), the steering committee at the provincial level did not continue operation. As a result, the link between the provincial steering committee and branches and local authorities has been interrupted, while the active support to the activities to preserve the sea has also stopped.
Meanwhile, Vietnam still lacks a perfect legal framework for the marine protection. In the past, Vietnam applied the policy under which fee was collected from visitors and investment projects, which were considered as the biggest threat to the ecosystem and the marine environment. The money collected was used to spend on sea preservation activities.
However, the fee collection in the investment areas has been removed, because investors have refused to pay. Meanwhile, no one can force investors to pay this kind of fee, because of the unclear legal framework.
Especially, state management agencies have been very slow in promulgating legal documents that guide the activities of sea preservation.
In 2008, the government decree 57 on the management mechanism applied to MPA was promulgated. However, there has been no circular guiding the implementation of the decree so far. In 2010, the Prime Minister issued the Decision No 742 on the programming of the MPAs in Vietnam by 2020. However, to date, local authorities are still awaiting the guidance from ministries and branches.
The latest fact-finding trips conducted recently by scientists discovered the sediment on many sea areas, which has been caused by the construction of tourism projects. A lot of coral reefs have died.
Recently, the MPA’s management board has requested the Khanh Hoa provincial authorities to add Dam Tre into the MPA, so as to protect and maintain the spawning ground for sea turtle.
Besides, the board has also proposed to set up a sea turtle rescue center. The local sea turtles are facing the big threat caused by the massive construction. A lot of tourism projects have been and will be located on both the spawning grounds of Khanh Hoa province, Bai Dai (belonging to Cam Ranh Bay) and Dam Tre (belonging to Nha Trang bay).
According to Kinh, the spawning grounds have been chosen by sea turtles themselves, which have been positioned for the last hundreds of years, while human should not intervene. Source: SGTT