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Development of a physical-ecological model system for the study of climate change and management of marine resources in Vietnamese coastal waters (CLIMARCO)

Research project BL/V/24 (Research action BL)

Contract BL/36/V24 :

Duration of the contract :


Partners :

  • Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (Vietnam) 
  • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences 

Description :

Vietnam is one of the most rapid growing economies in Asia with an annual growth rate between 7.0 - 9.0%. The Catba-Halong and Red River Delta coastal region is located along the northeastern coast of Vietnam. In the region there are several important marine resources not only on the Vietnamese but also on an international level such as Catba National Park - the World’s Biosphere Reserve, Halong Bay - the World’s Natural Heritage, Doson Beach - a well known tourist resort in Vietnam, the Red River Delta – one of the biggest deltas in Asia. By its richness in marine resources and an advantageous position in the northern focus of the economic triangle Hanoi - Haiphong - Quangninh the region has become attractive for economical development.

Halong Bay in the northern, the Catba islands in the southern and Baitulong Bay in the eastern part form a natural marine system, with an important potential for ecotourism (Tien, 2004). Halong Bay and the Catba islands are well-known for their unique tropical ecosystems with economically valuable resources such as coral reefs, mangroves, sea-grasses, more than 2000 small limestone islands, tidal wetlands and tropical forest. The area is also rich in marine biodiversity, counting 122 species of coral, 166 plankton, 208 zoobenthos, 11 sea grass and seaweeds, and 190 fish and shellfish. The Red River delta is the hub of all economic activity in the north of Vietnam, where the majority of the region's population is concentrated. The delta, which supports nearly half the country's rice production, is under threat due to its strategic position and unchecked population growth that is putting an increasing strain on resources and environment.

Activities, such as agriculture, aquaculture, fishing and tourist services are of great importance for the socio-economic development of the region. The increased economic activities represent, however, an imminent threat on the natural ecosystem. Examples are increased pollution due to shipping and tourism, excessive fisheries and agriculture activities causing a deterioration of water quality and a decrease of habitats and biodiversity. These threats and the predicted tendencies of climate change (see below), endanger not only the unique marine ecosystems but also the sustainable development of the region. In the context of the conflict between socio-economic development and environmental protection, scientists and administrators have agreed on the development and application of a general physical-ecological numerical model which can be used for studying the marine environment and resources of the Catba-Halong and Red River Delta, towards sustainable development of the region. The project will offer a valuable tool, firstly for the scientists for a better understanding of the complex ecosystem and, secondly, for administrators and managers to decide on policies for environmental protection, economical development and implementation of a climate management plan.

The project has the following objectives:

-The development and validation of a general physical-ecological model for the protection of the marine environment and resources of the Catba - Halong and Red River Delta coastal area towards sustainable development of the region.
-The establishment of a comprehensive data-base of observations and model results.
-The assessment of the impact of climate change and environmental risks by the design and simulation of realistic scenario studies.
-To define recommendations and strategies for an efficient exploitation of the natural resources and the planning of a global climate management plan for preservation of the unique ecosystems of the region in collaboration with local authorities and managers.
-The organization of training sessions for model users and hosting of Vietnamese experts.
- Establishment of an end-user group & dissemination of results to a wider scientific and management community.

Documentation :

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