DANIDA Supports Introduction of Co-Management in Vietnam’s Fisheries Sector

The Danish-funded Fisheries Sector Programme (FSPS II) is supporting co-management in order to improve the sustainability of the Vietnamese fisheries sector. Activities in Ben Tre province demonstrate what co-management is in practice and what the differences is between conventional approaches and the co-management approach.
In order to promote co-management and ownership for the local fishing community, a village in the Thang Phong commune has been selected to receive Danida support in the testing of new management techniques. The fishers themselves have proclaimed the need to introduce and discuss measures to reduce the fishing pressure.
The village consists of 40 households whose main income is from fisheries using a variety of fishing methods. However, the most used method is the ‘dai’, a bag-net used in the low parts of rivers, which due to their small mesh size catches virtually everything that moves with the river or tidal currents.
In a conventional management approach, the province would normally issue a total ban on the use of ‘dai’. The fishers would then be given fines or have their equipment confiscated, making their opportunity to support themselves and their families even harder. To be effective, the approach would furthermore, require substantial resources spent on enforcement.
In the co-management approach a management solution will instead be identified together with the fishing community. Different options will be explored, taking into account the needs and suggestions of the fishers and their community. The identification of management measures will be accompanied by additional support to the local community, including training in various technical fields, also identified with the community, and alternative income-generating activities.
An additional benefit of co-management is that it creates an opportunity to obtain better data and information for improved management. Although dai fisheries are perceived as detrimental, no data actually exists to support this claim. When the community is empowered to take active part in the management process, the fishers will increasingly see the need to collect reliable data and information on which to base management decisions.

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