Agriculture Ministry puts forward post-Formosa fishing options

By Vo Thanh   August 26, 2016 | 09:25 pm PT
Agriculture Ministry puts forward post-Formosa fishing options
Photo by VnExpress/Tri Tin
Vietnam mulls fishing ban along its central coastline following mass fish deaths last April.

Agriculture Ministry (MARD) this morning has proposed four options for fishing along Vietnam's central coast up for discussion as Vietnam deliberates resuming fishing activities in areas affected by Formosa's toxic waste.

The proposal was put forward at a conference held in Thua Thien Hue, one of the four coastal provinces that suffered from tons of fish killed in one of the biggest environmental disasters in Vietnamese history caused by Taiwanese Formosa Ha Tinh Steel (FHS).

The options look to impose restrictions on fishing, aquaculture and salt production in frour affected provinces, including Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue based on the assessment report on sea pollution released by the Environment Ministry on August 22.

Under the first option, fishing will be banned within a 10 nautical miles from the shoreline stretching from Vung Ang (Ha Tinh) down to Son Cha (Thua Thien – Hue), said Nguyen Ngoc Oai, Deputy General Director of Fisheries Department.

The second option will allow fishing in all but three specific areas which have been warned as unsafe by the Environment Ministry, including hundreds of square meters of the sea in Son Duong (Ha Tinh), Nhat Le (Quang Binh) and Son Cha (Thua Thien – Hue).

Under the third option, fishermen are banned from catching deep-sea fish within 20 nautical miles from the shore of the four affected provinces while other production activities may resume. 

The last option involves no fishing ban.

The MARD also noted that no matter the option, inspection of seafood sold at fishing ports will be heightened to ensure food safety. 

On August 22, the Vietnamese government announced the results of its assessment of environmental damage caused by FHS along a 200 kilometer stretch of the country's central coastline. It is unclear whether the water is safe to fish in within 20 nautical miles of the coast while the authorities said the coast is safe for swimming and aquaculture.

Vietnam is expecting to receive later this month the second half of the compensation settlement from FHS worth a total of $500 million. The firm promised to compensate local people for economic losses, help them find new jobs and subsidize clean-up activities.

In a report to the National Assembly, Vietnam's legislature, the government said that around 41,000 fishermen and over 176,000 people dependent on them have been affected by the incident.

Authorities estimate that seafood catches have fallen 1,600 tons per month, according to the report. 140 tons of fish, 67 tons of oysters and 16 tons of shrimp died as a result of the disaster, it said.

Related news:

> Formosa's toxic disaster: are fish safe to eat now in central Vietnam?

> Formosa pays Vietnam first $250 mln fish death compensation

> Vietnam province launches criminal probe into Formosa-related waste burial

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