The Quang Tri Province with assistance from the Fisheries General Department and the Government of Denmark has officially granted Con Co island as Marine Protected Area (MPA). This is the 4th MPA established in the network of 15 MPAs in Vietnam.
The opening ceremony was held recently in Con Co island district, Quang Tri province. Attending the ceremony were senior leaders of Fisheries General Department, Quang Tri People Committee and representatives of local authorities and press agencies.
The Con Co Marine Protected Area (MPA) which is 25 km from the coast with total area of 4,532 hectares was chosen to develop sea-life nature reserves due to its diverse ecological system. Surveys of marine ecosystem show there are two primary coral reefs on the south-eastern and south-western shores, home to 113 species of corals, including rare red and black corals. Surveys also recorded 57 species of seaweeds, 67 species of mollusces, 19 species of crustaceans, 224 species of marine fishes including 87 coral-reef-dependent species. The sea of Con Co island also boasts a variety of rare fish that are listed for prohibition of fishing.
The recognition of Con Co Island as a marine protected area will help to protect and develop the diversification of local sea creatures, biodiversity and valuable genetic resources. A series of activities including awareness raising on marine conservation, community-based ecotourism models and supporting alternative livelihoods for local community will be implemented in the coming time by the Con Co MPA management board with support from LMPA component.
The Con Co island is the 4th MPA in Vietnam. The other 3 MPAs are Hon Mun in Khanh Hoa province, Cu Lao Cham island in Quang Nam province and Phu Quoc island in Kien Giang province. Vietnam will set up 11 new MPAs from now to 2015 so that MPAs will cover 0.24 percent of the country’s total sea area, according to an MPA development plan for the 2010-2020 period.