Sustainable development of the marine economy in the new context

Sustainable development of the marine economy is a strategic direction identified in Resolution 36-NQ/TW. In the current context, the economy requires a quick recovery after the period affected by the pandemic on a global scale; besides the growing pressures of climate change and new trade policies after COP26. Science and technology is identified as a strategic tool to help solve challenges in the new context, contributing to the goal of sustainable development of the marine economy. Below is an excerpt from the interview with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan, Director of the Institute of Marine Environment and Resources (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) revolving around the above issue:

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan, Director of the Institute of Marine Resources and Environment. Photo: Institute of Marine Natural Resources and Environment

In your opinion, what are the main challenges to develop a sustainable marine economy, gradually shifting from a "brown" to a "green" economy?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan: 19 coastal economic zones in the "Planning for development of coastal economic zones of Vietnam up to 2020" according to Decision 1353/QD-TTg 2008 and Decision 1453/QD-TTg are gradually being approved, and when formed, they can create breakthroughs in the economic development of coastal localities in the future. However, this requires a huge investment capital in synchronous infrastructure, prioritizing the use of key new and advanced technologies to create "locomotives" and "supporting pillars" of the ocean-oriented economy. In the current situation, there is no coastal economic zone in Vietnam that can serve as a model and replicate for other regions. Research and training capacity of universities and research institutes specialized in marine science and technology has not kept up with the requirements of real life due to limited investment in facilities and lack of important policies.

The marine environment has been degraded due to massive socio-economic development activities in the coastal areas in recent years. These include issues related to untreated waste from river basins and coastal areas; local pollution of organic matter, oil pollution occurs commonly in fishing ports, seaports, concentrated aquaculture areas; and the problem of heavy metal pollution, toxic chemical leakage from coastal industrial clusters.

The main marine ecosystems of tropical seas such as corals, seagrass beds and mangroves are degraded, the area is narrowed, and important habitats are lost, which are spawning grounds and nursery grounds of marine species.

Exploiting marine resources still focuses on traditional forms of resources such as oil and gas, construction materials, etc., which are not renewable. Resource exploitation to ensure food security, although renewable, is gradually depleted due to overfishing that takes place over many years.

Using unmanned aerial vehicle drone to assess the current state of coastal ecosystems and islands in Hai Phong. Photo: Institute of Marine Natural Resources and Environment.

What are the priority issues that need to be addressed?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan: Personally, I think that in the coming time, it is necessary to solve some key issues as follows:

First, strengthening the management of seas and islands; Not developing a marine economic model for all coastal localities, but depending on actual conditions to restructure marine economic sectors accordingly. Prioritizing the use of advanced and environmentally friendly technologies in exploiting marine resources.

Protecting marine environment and key marine ecosystems: strengthening the management and effective treatment of waste sources in coastal areas; Improving the living standards for coastal and island residents and organizations and individuals engaged in economic activities at sea; Expanding multilateral cooperation and proactively cooperating internationally on the sea with the aim of developing marine science and technology for marine economic activities.

Technology application helps to increase the value of resource exploitation, develop the green sea economy and meet the requirements of management. In the photo is a collagen product extracted from jellyfish of the Institute of Marine Natural Resources and Environment. Photo:

How will science and technology contribute to solving these problems?

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan: To contribute to solving the above problems, science and technology, especially marine science and technology, must really become the driving force for marine economic development. Through research results from scientific activities, enterprises will soon have access to modern technologies to innovate technological processes, improve product quality, lower product costs, and increase competitiveness in the market. Key marine research institutes and universities must play a pioneering role in technological innovation and creation in the 4.0 industrial revolution. It is necessary to focus human and material resources on research, creating core technologies, intellectual property diplomas, and useful solutions to meet the requirements of innovation, international economic integration, and effective service to the industrialization and modernization of the country.

Through the expansion of international cooperation in the field of application and transfer of science and technology, businesses and people will be able to promptly meet the requirements in production and business activities. The management of seas and islands is implemented effectively or not depends a lot on basic survey data on resources and environment of sea and islands. Marine spatial planning and integrated coastal zone management are all interdisciplinary science with logic between natural science - social science to harmonize the benefits of economic development with marine nature conservation.

Can you share about some orientations of the Institute to promote the process of green sea economic transformation?

Assoc. Pfor. Dr. Nguyen Van Quan: As a specialized marine research unit with strengths in basic research and investigation on marine natural resources, the Institute is oriented to promote activities related to basic research in the direction of application and research, and develop technology and science for sea and island management. In 2021, the Institute completed a key state-level science and technology project on "Research and development of a marine spatial planning plan in the Gulf of Tonkin" (KC 09.16/16-20). The project has developed a marine spatial planning plan in the Gulf of Tonkin to rationally allocate economic activities, national defense, security, nature conservation and ensure ecological balance.

In recent years, the Institute has innovated its operation methods, expanded research directions to create breakthroughs and improve the quality of scientific products; developed many new technology research, created patents/useful solutions to promote the application of marine knowledge in production. Typically, the topics "Research on technology and application of Enzymes in collagen production from Vietnam's sea jellyfish" (DT.07.19/CNSHCB); and the topic "Research on building perch farming models" are examples. Both topics are aimed at perfecting high technologies (enzyme technology, biotechnology) to create breakthrough solutions in aquaculture and seafood production and seafood product processing in the direction of a circular economy, and improved efficiency in exploiting marine resources.

In addition, the Institute also focuses on upgrading facilities and equipment, contributing to building a large database of marine services for multiple sectors. The objective is to ensure sovereignty and security at sea, and strengthen the development of a team of highly qualified researchers who are ready for international integration in marine science.

Thank you Sir.

See full interview information at:

Translated by Phuong Huyen
Link to Vietnamese version

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