Marine and coastal resources in Vietnam are under increasing threat from human activities (Burke et al. 2002). One way to manage these threats is through Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which safeguard valuable ecosystems within their confines. Despite the ecological and socio-economic benefits they provide (Whittingham et al. 2003), the management of MPAs is often severely constrained by both a lack of funding and a poor relationship with communities living around (or within) them.