Money to dive for: Algae rush sends Vietnamese fishermen deep into the ocean

By Dac Thanh   July 8, 2017 | 04:13 pm GMT+7

The summer business can earn families in Quang Nam Province $2,200 each.

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It’s algae time for fishers in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam between May and July. They paddle out in search of sargassum, a type of brown seaweed found in tropical oceans that can be used to make surgical thread, adhesive, fertilizer and pesticide, as well as alcoholic drinks.

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The algae can be found at depths of one to seven meters about a kilometer off the coast.

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Locals say you need to be fit and strong to dive for algae. The men tie themselves to metal blocks weighing around five kilograms to stay underwater.

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A tube to supply oxygen to a diver.

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As a man sends the algae up, his wife collects it in a coracle.

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Each family can collect between 200-300 kilograms a day and earn more than VND50 million ($2,200) from the season, the same as Vietnam's average annual income for 2016.

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The algae is laid out to dry after it is harvested. Dealers also hire workers to clean sand and other trash from the algae, which earns them VND200,000 a day.

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Locals say dealers pay them VND5,500 per kilo of algae, which will then be sold in China.