World Wetlands Day in Viet Nam
Xuan Thuy National Park
WORLD WETLANDS DAY 2007
Xuan Thuy National Park, Vietnam
World Wetlands Day (WWD) 2007 was a highly celebrated event in Xuan Thuy National Park, a Ramsar site in Vietnam's Red River Delta. It provided an important chance for local people and leaders to learn more about wetlands and their importance to fisheries, to recognize current work being done and to urge more action towards wetlands and fisheries conservation - for today, tomorrow and the future.
Located in the Giao Thuy District, Nam Dinh province, Xuan Thuy National Park was declared Vietnam's first Ramsar site of Vietnam in January 1989. More than one quarter of the park's 12,000ha is covered with mangroves that support many aquatic species - including fish, crustaceans and molluscs. These species provide food and livelihoods for the poor, local people of the area.
The park is also home to many important species. It houses the Cá Mòi Co (Clupanodon thrissa), a fish listed in Vietnam's Red Book as vulnerable and at risk of extinction.
And it is also recognized as a platform for migratory water birds, including the Cò thìa (Black-faced Spoon-Bill), and eight other listed endangered species.
More than 400 participants celebrated WWD 2007 in Xuan Thuy National Park, including local government bodies, environmental agencies, non-government organizations (NGO), local community organizations and school students.
During the day, participants attended a wide range of activities, including an opening ceremony, cultural performances by local women, tree-planting and a biodiversity exhibition.
Local Vietnamese NGO and co-organiser of the event, the Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD), also made a presentation on the significance of WWD, calling for continued initiatives to maintain Xuan Thuy National Park as a Ramsar site through conservation of biodiversity and responsible fisheries.
At the exhibition, students and participants were introduced to the wetlands and Ramsar site's features through posters, books and brochures. They were also showed videos about the biodiversity of wetlands, and their conservation and management.
Over 200 secondary students also joined an art competition to colour and build the WWD 2007 fish model, an activity that called on their creativity and knowledge of the park's fish species.
The event was jointly conducted by MCD in partnership with Nam Dinh province's Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the Xuan Thuy National Park Management Board.
Prior to WWD 2007, the local people of Xuan Thuy National Park's five buffer zone communes heard about the significance of the Ramsar site's wetlands biodiversity and fisheries conservation through a village radio program.
The program discussed the need for the local people to take pride in their wetlands area, its relevance as a Ramsar site, its importance for their livelihoods, and how to protect the wetlands' natural assets.
The day's events were also broadcast by national, Nam Dinh provincial and Giao Thuy district television and newspapers, as well as aired on the Voice of Vietnam (VOV), Vietnam's national radio station.
As a result of WWD 2007, several messages have been conveyed and reinforced including:
- Protect mangrove ecosystems.
- Stop over-fishing.
- Prevent destructive fishing.
- Catch species at a suitable size - don't keep fish that are too small and not grown to a full, mature size.
- Protect species that are under threat.
Overall the day helped raise public awareness and also recognized local community efforts in the conservation of Xuan Thuy National Park, the sustainable and wise-use of the park's resources, and responsible fisheries and management.
For further information about MCD and its coastal wetlands program, please visit http://www.mcdvietnam.org