August 2016 – Green Fins Vietnam: Fourth Round of Assessments in Nha Trang

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During August, Green Fins coordinators from Reef-World travelled to Nha Trang Bay to assist the Institute of Oceanography and the Han Mun Marine Protected Area Management Board conduct the fourth round of Green Fins assessments.

A total of 10 assessments were conducted, including the recruitment of one newly opened dive centre. All members maintain their positive attitude and although there are unresolved management issues within the Bay, the dive centres are enthusiastic and optimistic about reducing their environmental impacts using the Green Fins approach. Dive centres have been reporting environmental misconducts to the GF management team and individuals have been open to the necessary behavioural changes needed to protect our fragile marine environments.

For the local management team, the assessments are also an essential time to experience the true situation of everyday life on board the diving and snorkelling boats of Nha Trang. This gives them the opportunity to see first-hand which coastal management strategies are and are not working. Using this information they are able to better influence, change and implement policy for the sustainable use of the marine environment.

Annually, Green Fins members have their environmental performance evaluated by trained assessors. Each assessment results in an environmental impact score based on a traffic light rating system for how well risks to the environment are managed. The lower the score, the lower the environmental impact. Each member’s score is confidential and continued membership is based on ongoing improvement. This is the average score of members in this country.

The efforts of the dive centres in implementing the Green Fins approach means that assessment scores, and impacts, have on average reduced by 20% since the first year of implementation. Due to the success of Green Fins at reducing environmental impacts, the Director of the Institute of Oceanography is now working closely with other government departments to secure funding for continued activities and possible expansion of the Green Fins approach into Phu Quoc or Cham Island in the near future.

Picture of the beach and ocean in Vietnam.

Green Fins Vietnam was launched in 2014 and is overseen by the Institute of Oceanography (IO) under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST).