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Seaweed: precious natural gift of Quảng Ngãi Province

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BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: Harvesting seaweed in Bình Châu Commune, Quảng Ngãi Province. VNS Photo Phạm Anh

At the crack of dawn, hundreds of fishermen from the coastal communes of the central province of Quảng Ngãi sail their coracles to the sea to harvest a special gift of nature bestowed upon their homeland: seaweed.

Containing a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including iodine, iron and calcium, seaweed is increasingly favoured due to its high nutrition and original taste.

To the locals, besides onions and garlic, this “sea vegetable” is another plant that has brought them a significant source of income.

The harvest season of seaweed starts at the beginning of July when clumps of seaweed appear abundantly on the cliffs and coastal coral reefs. According to local fishermen, this plant grows and thrives from mid-April to July every year.

Sitting in his boat, 52-year-old Nguyễn Hùng from Châu Thuận Village in Bình Châu Commune points at the bubbles on the water surface, explaining: “Some villagers are diving in this area to cut seaweed.”

Emerging from the transparent blue water is a young man wearing a diving mask, swimsuit and oxygen tube. After resting for a few minutes, he continued to dive from two to five metres from the surface.

The net is cast around the diver’s position to gather the seaweed floating after being cut. Another fisherman on the boat hastily uses a long pole or a racket for fishing out the seaweed and places them onto a nearby raft or basket. If they are slow, water might push the seaweed out of the net, making it difficult to be collected.

According to Hùng, the seaweed harvest typically starts at around 5am and ends in the late afternoon. Many fishermen and divers also bring food to have lunch by the sea.

A day’s dive could collect 400 to 500kg of fresh seaweed. After drying, each tonne of wet seaweed will reduce to 300-350kg of dried seaweed, depending on its age.

HARVEST SEASON: Fisherman Nguyễn Hoàng, 51, from Châu Thuận Biển Village, Bình Châu Commune is happy to have a successful seaweed season this year. VNS Photo Phạm Anh

Families of many members often invest in specialised equipment like oxygen tanks and rafts, while the work is divided clearly. Those with limited budgets might wait until the tide has ebbed in the late afternoon to pull their rafts and collect the seaweed along the shore until night.

Exploitation combined with conservation

OCEAN’S BOUNTY: A fisherman uses a long pole for fishing out the seaweed and places it onto a nearby raft. VNS Photo Phạm Anh

Fishermen in coastal communes such as Bình Hải or Bình Châu in Quảng Ngãi have a successful season this year when the demand of the market is high. Traders immediately purchase all the freshly harvested seaweed.

“In the past three weeks, my family could earn about VNĐ1.5 million (US$64) per day from seaweed. The price of one kilo last year was only VNĐ6,000, but it has increased up to VNĐ9,000 this year, so locals are happy to go to sea, no matter how hard the work is,” Nguyễn Văn Phụng from Phú Quý Village in Bình Châu said.

PROCESSING: Fresh seaweed is dried naturally under the sun for 3 to 5 days before being ready for use. VNS Photo Phạm Anh

Collecting the “sea vegetable” is more accessible and less expensive than fishing. The fishermen only need to row a coracle or a small motor boat 600-800m from the shore to cast their net and begin diving.  

However, according to Phụng, harvesting seaweed is arduous. It is an aquatic alga that grows on the sandy bottom about 1-1.5m below the water surface. Therefore, divers are normally male and must be in good health to stand the sun and wind and be able to dive for a long time underwater. The elderly and children can also earn extra income by collecting seaweed by the shore and drying it for other households.

The harvest season of seaweed mainly runs from June to August. Most fishermen focus on harvesting seaweed instead of seafood at this time of the year. They say this year’s season may end sooner than usual.

After being harvested, seaweed is initially processed to remove garbage and rocks that still cling to the root. Then it must be dried naturally under the sun for 3 to 5 days before being ready for use.

PICTURE PERFECT: Fresh seaweed is dried along the coast of Quảng Ngãi Province. VNS Photo Phạm Anh

Dried seaweed has become a famous speciality of Quảng Ngãi. It can be cooked into many delicious and nutritious dishes with simple methods like soups or salads, so the plant has become increasingly favoured.

Harvesting seaweed can bring high economical efficiency and reduce pollution caused by old plants drifting ashore. However, over-exploitation a few years ago seriously affected the marine ecological environment.

Among the varieties of seaweed, sargassum, which grows mainly on coral reefs, is a food source and creates a place for other species to shelter and reproduce. It also creates a favourable environment for dozens of coral species to develop.

To avoid any negative effects, the Quảng Ngãi provincial authority has specified the time for exploitation. Accordingly, the harvesting, trade and transport of seaweed are forbidden in the province from December 1 to the end of April of the following year, except for research work approved by the authority.

Local fishermen are allowed to harvest seaweed after May 1 every year. They must not uproot the plant but cut at least 10cm from the root and must not exploit over 75 per cent of the seaweed area for aquatic species to have a shelter to reside and reproduce. At the same time, they should avoid trampling or anchoring ships in the seaweed area in order not to damage the coastal coral reefs.

The regulations are based on the plant’s growth characteristics, ensuring its growing standards and preserving spawning grounds for aquatic species.

“Thanks to seaweed collecting, local fishermen have had a decent income for their living,” said Nguyễn Ngọc Tài, deputy director of the Quảng Ngãi Agricultural Promotion Centre. The commune now has about 400 households harvesting seaweed.

“Local authorities have encouraged fishermen to exploit seaweed properly in combination with preservation. Harvesting the plant must be done in the right season, otherwise, it will affect the growth of fish and shrimp,” he said.

“Local fishermen are well aware of its importance and strictly follow the regulations.” 

According to Tài, it is necessary to develop seaweed farming and exploit the potential areas suitable for growing species with high economic value, not to waste resources.

He also stressed the importance of calling for business investment in indigenous seaweed species to turn them into processed products with high added-value, which is also a direction to restructure the agricultural work in the fisheries sector and for rural development. VNS

 

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/life-in-vietnam/seaweed-precious-natural-gift-of-quang-ngai-province_336341.html

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Hà Nội to celebrate Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day

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Tourists pose for a photo in front of Po Klong Garai Temple in Phan Rang City, Ninh Thuận Province. VNA/VNS Photos Nguyễn Thành

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội’s Department of Cultural, Sports and Tourism will organise a special event to highlight the cultural features and tourism potential of the central province of Ninh Thuận on September 30.

Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day 2022 aims to strengthen cooperation between Ninh Thuận Province and Hà Nội in culture and tourism.

It is also expected to introduce the original cultures of the ethnic groups in the province, the provincial tourism products and specialities to both domestic and international friends.

Held by the Victory monument on Đinh Tiên Hoàng Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day 2022 will feature arts programmes showcasing the cultures and traditional arts of ethnic groups from Ninh Thuận Province like Chăm dance. In addition, visitors can play ethnic musical instruments themselves or try special lamb dishes of the province.

The craft of making Bàu Trúc pottery will be part of Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day 2022 in Hà Nội. 

The event also includes booths introducing handicraft products and traditional crafts like making pottery and weaving brocades of the Chăm people in Bàu Trúc and Mỹ Nghiệp Villages.

Another part of the Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day 2022 is the promotion of Ninh Thuận’s tourism via the screening of videos, the introduction of tours and free distribution of handbooks, maps, brochures and postcards to tourists.

The event will also hold a photo exhibition showcasing Ninh Thuận’s tourism, cultural heritages and tourist attractions.

Ninh Thuận Culture-Tourism Day 2022 will conclude on October 2. — VNS

 

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/events/ha-noi-to-celebrate-ninh-thuan-culture-tourism-day_337691.html

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First nature film festival takes place in Việt Nam

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A scene from Il Était Une Forêt, a French film screened at #It’s Time To Act – A Nature Film Festival in Việt Nam. Photo courtesy of #It’s Time To Act – Nature Film Festival in Vietnam

HÀ NỘI International and local environmentally themed films are being screened at an environmental film festival organised in Việt Nam for the first time.

Held in response to the UN General Assembly (UNGA)’s Climate Week this year (September 19-25), the film festival, entitled  #It’s Time To Act – A Nature Film Festival in Việt Nam, is coordinated by the Spanish Embassy in Việt Nam with movies from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Peru, Venezuela, Spain, the UK and Việt Nam.

WildAct Vietnam, a wildlife conservation organisation, is the organisational partner of the first edition of this festival, joined by Vietnam Film Development Association, the Delegation of EU to Việt Nam and nine environmental organisations from Việt Nam.

The festival will be showing 17 feature films, documentaries, and short films with subtitles in Vietnamese. Many film screenings will be free for the public and in a hybrid format (both online & offline) at more than five venues in Hà Nội and HCM City.

The venues are: The National Cinema Centre, National Documentary Film Studio, University of Hanoi, Casa Italia, Goethe Institute and ƯƠM Arthub.

Spanish Ambassador to Vietnam María Del Pilar Méndez Jiménez said: “It is always a Spanish priority to be a bridge bringing together countries and peoples in favour of global public goods.

“As the coordinator of #It’s Time To Act – A Nature Film Festival in Vietnam, we are very honoured to work together with institutions, civil society, individuals and the environmental community of 14 countries across three continents, with the common intention of fostering international cooperation in raising awareness around what a sustainable future looks like, to pool one message: Only One Earth”.

Dr Oriol Solà Pardell, Secretary, Administrative, Consular and Cultural Affairs of Embassy of Spain, coordinator of the festival, is confident that the film festival will inspire audiences to protect and preserve Nature, and that the festival is an international effort to bring Hope to Nature.

“Let’s save the future,” he said.

Dr Trang Nguyễn, founder of WildAct Vietnam, said the festival will leave an impact among the young audience:

She said: “Documentaries may serve as an increasingly important tool for engaging people in conservation efforts, as outdoor experiences become less common in human’s lifestyle.

“Scientific evidence has shown that nature documentaries increase sensitivity to the species portrayed, increase environmental citizenship, increase support for conservation organisations, and generate positive attitudes and social norms that can support policy change.

“This film festival is a wonderful opportunity for the Vietnamese citizens to celebrate, connect and most importantly, act for nature.”

The film screening schedule, ticket registration and introduction about each film can be found on  naturefilmfestival.vn or facebook.com/itstimetoact.naturefilmfestival. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/events/first-nature-film-festival-takes-place-in-viet-nam_337628.html

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Yên Bái hosts ceremony to receive UNESCO certificate on Xòe Thái dance

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YÊN BÁI — A ceremony to receive the UNESCO certificate of recognition of Xòe Thái art as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was held on September 24 in Nghĩa Lộ Town, Yên Bái Province. 

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, speaking on behalf of leaders of the Party and State, congratulated the authorities and people of ethnic groups in Yên Bái, Sơn La, Lai Châu, and Điện Biên on the recognition of Xòe Thái art as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during his remarks at the celebrations.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and delegates joined in the Xòe Thái dance at the ceremony. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

The Prime Minister has expressed his belief that the recognition of Xòe Thái as Việt Nam’s 14th heritage inscribed by UNESCO is a moment of great pride for the Thái people and the community of the country’s 54 ethnic groups.

PM Chính praised generations of folk artists and the Thái ethnic community for their tremendous efforts to conserve this priceless cultural heritage.

He also thanked and praised the efforts of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, the National Council for Cultural Legacy, other relevant ministries, agencies, and localities, collectors, and researchers to preserve and promote Xòe Thái art and Việt Nam’s cultural heritage.

The Prime Minister expressed his hope that UNESCO’s Representative Office and Christian Manhart, UNESCO’s Chief Representative, would continue to provide Việt Nam with close cooperation and effective help to ensure that the country’s cultural values are widely disseminated and in tune with the cultural quintessence of humanity.

To continue to create new vitality, spread, and strongly inspire the value of Xòe Thái art, the Prime Minister suggested that the authority, people, and Thái community in the Northwest provinces, as well as the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, work cooperatively to effectively implement the “National Action Programme to protect and promote the value of the intangible cultural heritage of Xòe Thái art” in accordance with the commitment to UNESCO.

“Let us do it with enthusiasm, with heart, with pride, with inner strength, so that the lyrics and music of Xòe khăn, Xòe nón, Xòe quạt, Xòe sạp, Xòe gậy, Xòe hoa,[ Xòe dancing using various props such as scarves, hats] continue to be nurtured, developed, and spread throughout the community of ethnic groups,” he said.

According to PM Chính, the noble and beautiful value of Xòe Thái art should be protected and promoted internationally as well as domestically. Therefore, it is vital to recognise that this is the representative intangible cultural legacy of humanity and take appropriate action.

“Xòe Thái represents the convergence of cultural beauty, therefore, promoting Xòe Thái is our shared responsibility,” he added.

The Prime Minister suggested expanding studies and coming up with concrete plans to protect and enhance ethnic groups’ and Xòe Thái’s identity and customs in socio-economic growth and tourism development.

He urged everyone to take steps to improve the lives of skilled artisans who are committed to preserving the heritage while also making it easier for people to experience and perform Xòe Thái in light of the country’s new development conditions. 

At the ceremony, Pauline Tamesis, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Việt Nam, presented the UNESCO certificate recognising Xòe Thái art as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to the representative of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, as well as leaders of the People’s Committees of the provinces of Yên Bái, Sơn La, Lai Châu, and Điện Biên.

Tamesis offered congratulations for this significant event and wished that the Thái community and Vietnamese people would continue to maintain, promote, and disseminate the significance of Xòe Thái art, while also contributing more to UNESCO’s activities and human culture.

Hoàng Đạo Cương, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, receives the UNESCO certificate of registration for the art of Xòe Thái from Pauline Tamesis, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Việt Nam. VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

Following the UNESCO certification ceremony, attendees were able to enter the art space and experience the local distinctive culture through an art programme centred on the theme “Xòe Thái – Essence of the heritage region.”

Artists from Yên Bái, Sơn La, and Lai Châu all participated in the beautifully staged art programme, which featured dancing, singing, and performing arts acts of Xòe Thái.

The programme ended with the performance “The quintessence of Xoè art,” which brought together traditional folklore values that have become the heritage of the Thái people in the Northwest, with the involvement of more than 2,000 artisans and performers. VNS

Source: http://ovietnam.vn/events/yen-baihosts-ceremony-to-receiveunesco-certificate-on-xoe-thaidance_337591.html

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