<img src="../images/logo.gif" width="70" height="70" vspace="5">



First national round table

14 September 2001

Hon Mun Marine Protected Area pilot project - a case study from Vietnam

Chu Tien Vinh, National project director of Hon Mun marine protected area
Bernard O'Callaghan, Chief Technical Advisor, Hon Mun marine protected area


map of Vietnam indicating location of Hon Mun MPAProject Partners: The Ministry of Fisheries, Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee, IUCN

Location: near Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province, South Vietnam.

Hon Mun marine protected area covers about 12,000 ha and includes 8 islands. There is a population of 5,000 people on the islands living in 7 villages.

Uses of Hon Mun marine protected area

  • Hon Mun receives about 70,000 tourists annually, who are attracted by diving, snorkelling, water sports, boating and the beaches.
  • The nests of swifts are collected for bird's nest soup.
  • The area is a waterway for sea vessels and has a port.
  • There are a variety of fishing activities in addition to traditional fishing. These include small seine netting, line fishing, trawling and diving for the aquarium trade and aquaculture.
  • Locally aquaculture is carried out for lobsters and fish species.



No. of known species

















Ojectives of the Hon Mun marine protected area

To conserve a representative example of internationally significant and threatened marine biodiversity.

To enable local island communities to improve their livelihoods and in partnership with other stakeholders to effectively protect and manage the marine biodiversity at Hon Mun as a model for collaborative marine protected area management.

a fishing boatThreats to conservation

  • Over-harvesting of resources
  • Illegal fishing
    • Explosives
    • Cyanide
  • Tourism - anchor damage
  • Pollution
  • Inputs from land

Key Issues

Often, to achieve conservation of global significant biodiversity (and livelihoods), local people must change the way the resources are used and managed.

But, this has a cost that is borne by local people…….

How to acheive this?

The Hon Mun MPA project will develop an effective Provincial Marine Protected Area Authority and a system for co-management with local resource users.

Key Activities

  1. Participatory planning and management by stakeholders;
  2. Development of alternative income generating (AIG) activities to draw people away from activities associated with excessive resource use;
  3. Capacity building through management training and public education; and
  4. Monitoring and evaluation of program success

Zoning of Hon Mun marine protected area

Not all the marine protected area will be strictly protected. Zones will be created with different activities allowed in different zones. These zones will be based upon biodiversity assessments and the traditional uses of the area to allow for some continued use by local people.

  • Core Zone
    A no fishing zone covering 10-20% of the total area. Education and research activities will be allowed activities in addition to nature based tourism such as diving and snorkelling.
  • Buffer zone
    Traditional fishing will be allowed but trawling. Permitted tourism activities will include boating, diving and swimming.
  • Aquaculture zone
    Planned aquaculture will be allowed.

What are AIG activities?

AIG usually means Alternative Income Generation, i.e. providing an alternative job. However, large scale Alternative Income Generation is very difficult without large amounts of money for investment. The concept should be Additional Income Generation activities (AIG).

Requirements for Additional Income Generation activities

  • Solid technical advice
  • Long-term approaches
  • Participatory – people decide
  • Capital – rural credit schemes
  • Focus on women
  • Trial models (up to 20 activities)

Other mechanisms to support local involvement

  • Collect user fees of which a percentage is returned to local communities.
  • Local people are involved in monitoring the change in biodiversity.
  • Local people are rewarded for improvements in the local marine environment.
  • Local people will benefit from an increased fish catch in the future.


The project is still in an early stage. AIG activities will be difficult to establish but there is already local support. A substantial amount of time is required to develop trust between all partners. The future results promise to be exciting.