Viet Nam's coastal provinces and cities have been undergoing rapid economic growth over the past 10 years. Fifty percent of the major urban centers, which are inhabited by 23 percent of the country's population of about 86 million (2009), are located along the coastal areas. The country's coastal and marine waters contribute approximately 48 percent of the national GDP and about 80 percent of the total fisheries catch.
The prime minister signed Decision No. 158/2007/GD-TTg dated 9 October 2007 approving the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Program for North Central Region and Central Coastal Provinces until 2010 and Orientation towards 2020. The national ICM program is covering 14 coastal provinces in the central region of the country. In the same year, the National Strategy for Viet Nam's Seas Towards 2020 was approved requiring the establishment of a government organization to manage the seas and islands in an integrated and unified manner. In March 2008, the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) was established to implement this function.
On 6 March 2009, Decree No. 25/2009/ND-CP on Integrated Marine Resources Management and Environmental Protection of Seas and Islands was issued by the Government. This Decree is considered a landmark instrument to advance policies and programs on ICM in Viet Nam. ICM scaling up in 28 coastal provinces is planned until 2020. Current efforts in ICM cover about 13 percent of the 3,260-km coastline of the country, excluding islands.