The Van Chai and its Role in the Hierarchy of Fisheries Administration in Vietnam Public Deposited

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  • The long history of the van chai system of Vietnam began several centuries ago with their establishment mainly in the lower and middle reaches of rivers northern Vietnam and in coastal lagoons in Central Vietnam, whereas those in marine embayments, like Ha Long Bay, and in enclosed coastal areas, like Tam Giang Lagoon, are of recent origin. Van chai have played an important role in fisheries administration, principally by managing the numbers of fishers, tax collection, smoothing local social relations, and harmonizing fishing operations according to local customary behavior. In addition, they are the main focus of information exchange and transmission of knowledge within a local fishing community. Van chai emerged from agricultural villages and gradually engaged in community self-management. As a result, their administrative and social management patterns are heavily influenced by the characteristics of traditional Vietnamese culture. This strong emphasis on local communities in Vietnamese culture has naturally led to the diversity of cultural characteristics among the van chai of different localities. Here we describe the management and behavioral patterns of some van chai where historical and cultural values remain strong, and which are located close to feudal era capital centers. These are van chai in Co Do, Van Chai Dich Vy (in the North), and some van chai in Tam Giang Lagoon. We highlight the past and present roles of the van chai in the hierarchy of fisheries administration of Vietnam. These provide a foundation to rapidly restore and reconstruct a viable system fisheries co-management based on Vietnamese cultural roots, and not some abstract imported ideas.
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  • Ha, Xuan Thong and Duy Thieu Nguyen. 2008. The Van Chai and its Role in the Hierarchy of Fisheries Administration in Vietnam. 12 pages. In: Proceedings of the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 22-25, 2008, Nha Trang, Vietnam: Achieving a Sustainable Future: Managing Aquaculture, Fishing, Trade and Development. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2008.
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