Environment
Locals cash in on poisoned dead fish
  • | dtinews.vn | April 27, 2016 04:01 PM
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People in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces are flocking to the sea to collect dead fish for traders to earn huge profits despite severe warnings about potential food poisoning.

    

Locals collect and sell dead fish

Dozens of boats are out at sea searching for half-dead fish. Those who can't go to the sea pick up the dead fish that are washed ashore. Fish that just died recently are sold at VND50,000 (USD2.3) per kilo while rotting fish are still worth VND20,000. Some people are able to earn up to VND1m a day.

The locals claim they don’t know why the traders buy the dead fish. But as they can earn money, they are willing to ignore the advice from local authorities that people must not buy or eat dead fish because of food poisoning.

Lawyer Truong Anh Tuan told Phapluatplus News that this was a blatant violation on the Food Safety Law. Individuals and organisations that use animals that have died from sickness or unknown reasons or contain toxic substances face fines of VND70m to VND100m. In addition, they may be prosecuted if there are severe consequences.

On April 24, diver Le Van Ngay died while working on a Formosa project. Ngay was a good diver and had no known medical conditions so many people suspected that he was poisoned by the water.

The Nibelc company signed a contract with Formosa to build a breakwater. Ngay returned home after a dive on April 22 and admitted he had breathing difficulties. He had a health check and was told to return for a re-check three days later. However, on April 24, his condition worsened and he died on the way to Bac Quang Binh General Hospital. The divers said the water seemed different and they also experienced shortness of breath after a dive.

The mass fish deaths affecting the central coast since early April have badly affected tourism and local businesses. Initial estimates show that 3,000 fishing boats, 350 households that live on salt processing and hundreds of other aquaculture farmers and tourism service providers have been affected. The total damage has reached an estimated VND115bn (USD5.2m).

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