Marine research and investigation activities are tasks of importance proactively carried out by countries worldwide, particularly coastal countries, aiming to provide scientific grounds on natural and environmental conditions, resources and marine geophysics as well as the changes of those elements for strategic planning as well as for marine systematic exploration.
|A system for marine resources and environment supervision (photo: VNA)
As for Vietnam, the task of marine research and investigation started in 1920s, under the framework of marine international cooperation programs and projects. From 1922 to 1945, the De Lanessen vessel (French) carried out various researches on fishing in the East Sea. Thereafter, cooperation programs between Vietnam and China (1959-1962), Vietnam and the USSR on the resources of pelagic and bottom fish in the Gulf of Tonkin were effectively implemented. Notably, in the period from 1968 to 1974, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in cooperation with Vietnam and international organizations and companies conducted projects on the Southern seas with valuable findings on sea fish reserves and geological and geophysical information of the continental shelf.
Since 1975, together with marine research activities, in cooperation with the Far East Institute and the Meteorological Committee of the USSR (forerunner of the Russian Federation), Vietnam has conducted projects in cooperation with maritime research organs of other countries, such as Japan, France, Canada, Denmark, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as regional and international organizations and programs. Activities focused on research and investigation of convex water areas, sea ecologies, fishery resources and biology, and features of coastal coral reefs, providing valuable scientific findings and conducting consultation on the management of coastal area, ocean protection, fishery resources and marine environment as well as the ante-deltas (AVAN-DELTA) protection, and on policies on hunger eradication and poverty reduction in Vietnam. On the basis of those findings, in 2007, the Government decided to invest in and implement the “Master Plan for Basic Survey and Integrated Management of Marine Resources and Environment to 2010 and Vision to 2020”, with the participation of a number of ministries, sectors and localities, making significant changes and putting this work into order. However, for subjective and objective reasons, marine research and investigation activities were not conducted comprehensively. The quality was under expectation, particularly in basic research and investigation on marine social-economics. Thus, contributions of these activities to the state management of seas and islands, marine economic development, sovereignty protection, security maintenance, and sea dispute settlement were somewhat limited.
In that context, the Vietnam Marine Strategy to 2020 set out the requirement to strengthen the marine research and investigation in all Homeland’s waters, islands, and continental shelf. In this regard, it is necessary to accelerate marine basic and comprehensive investigation, establishing the national database, assessing the potential of natural resources and minerals, formulating policy and law on the sea, implementing the program on integrated management of sea and coastal areas, evaluating and adopt measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and sea level rise on marine resources and environment. Those are basic, urgent guidelines to unceasingly increase the efficiency of state management on sea, develop the marine economy and firmly safeguard the Homeland’s sacred sea, island and continental shelf sovereignty and security.