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Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

By Phuoc Tuan   November 4, 2021 | 04:30 am PT
When a Dong Nai hydropower plant closed its floodgates Wednesday, hundreds of locals waded into shallow waters to catch themselves some big fish.
Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

The Tri An Hydropower Plant in the southern province closed its floodgates Wednesday after opening it for five days to release water. It was the second time this year that the plant had done this.

Both times, hundreds of locals come to the plant, armed with nets and spears to hunt fish.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

People use small boats to catch larger fish in deeper water.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

Hien of Ma Da Commune of Vinh Cuu District is ecstatic after catching a 20kg Mekong giant catfish.

"Many wanted to buy the fish for several million dong, but I refused. This fish is my good luck charm," he said.

(VND1 million = $44)

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

"These fish have a lot of fins so I have to be careful when removing them from the net, or the net will be damaged," Hien added.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

Some people sat on floats and buoys to cast their nets and catch the fish at leisure.

"My house is nearby, so I come here every year to catch fish. I do it either to gift my friends, or just as a way to relieve stress after a long day at work," said Thang.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

Some people cast a net wide in the water.

"We take turns to hold the nets, hoping that there will be enough fish at the end of the day to take home," said a young woman.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

After spending over an hour catching the fish, many sold their catch for around VND15,000 a kilogram.

"As the dam only opened for a short time, there was not as much fish as before," said one seller.

Locals said that fish often swim upstream when the floodgates are opened and gather in one place when they hit the dam.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

People gather alongside the dam to buy fish. Prices typically range from VND20,000-40,000 per kilogram for me (barbs), and VND150,000-200,000 per kilogram for lang (Hemibagrus guttatus, a bony, spotted catfish variety).

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

A barb weighing 8 kg is sold to a merchant for VND300,000.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

A man takes a photo of a woman bringing back fish from the dam.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

A man takes a handsome catch home after spending several hours catching the fish.

"I won't sell them, I will share it with my family and neighbors," he said.

Locals cash in on fish as dam closes floodgates

The Tri An reservoir, spanning 323 square kilometers, is on the Dong Nai River. The dam not only produces electricity, its reservoir also supplies water for agriculture and other purposes, apart from helping prevent floods.

 
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