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USAID-financed project launched to protect Mekong Delta's key coastal habitats

VGP – The Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project, with a planned budget of up to US$2.9 million provided by USAID, aims to protect key coastal habitats in the Mekong Delta region by increasing sustainable fisheries, strengthening climate adaptation, and improving biodiversity conservation.

10/21/2021 01:43

The USAID, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on October 21 launched this three-year project, which was announced during U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to Viet Nam in August.

By partnering with businesses, provincial governments, the management board of Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Phu Quoc National Park and fishing communities, the project will work to mitigate threats to coastal biodiversity and fisheries, and enhance coastal resilience in the Mekong Delta.

Geographically, the project’s activities will focus on the delta’s lowest lying and most vulnerable coastlines along the East and West Seas, Phu Quoc MPA, and three small island clusters in the West Sea (Hai Tac, Ba Lua, Nam Du).

The main components of the project include: (i) Strengthen management of Phu Quoc MPA for more effective habitat and species conservation; (ii) Establish a network of locally managed marine areas to protect coral reefs, seagrass beds in three island clusters; (iii) Explore solutions to conserve and expand mangrove forests to increase fish nursery habitat and coastal biodiversity.

The Mekong Delta and its islands are home to 70 percent of Viet Nam’s mangroves and 90 percent of its seagrass beds.

The delta’s crucial fishery habitats are further threatened by environmental pressures including prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, and aquaculture demand for groundwater, and intensive near-shore fishing which has depleted fish stocks, causing cascading ecological damage.

By Thuy Dung