Ly Son fishermen complain of over-exploitation by outsiders
  • | VietNamNet, | October 22, 2014 10:44 AM
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Fishermen from Ly Son Island, Quang Ngai Province, have been complaining about the depletion of fish species due to over-fishing by neighbouring provinces. 

The dispute arose from a number of incidents in which drift-net ships from other provinces, such as Khanh Hoa, allegedly swept up seafood from the waters off the island, depriving the local fishermen of their regular catch.

"I'm worried that, if this practice continues without the authorities intervening, it will result in the area becoming a 'dead sea'. That would endanger the livelihoods of our children," said Phuc, a resident of the island. He added that, in the recent past, fishing boats from Khanh Hoa Province have destroyed dozens of nets, each worth tens of millions of VND owned by local fishermen. 


Nighttime drift-net fishing boats

According to Phuc, sea harvests have greatly diminished in recent years. "We used to be able to catch dozens of kilos of anchovies each day. But lately the catch has fallen to just a few fish. Now we can’t even cover the operation costs,” said Vo Van Phu, a local fisherman. 

Phuc's case is not unique on the island, however. Another resident, Nguyen Thanh Dung, from Dong Hamlet said that fishing boats from Khanh Hoa Province often go in groups of three or four for nighttime fishing despite opposition by locals. 

Even the island residents' protests bring backlash. “They catch fish of all sizes and even attack people who live here when we protest their activities. Often they use large ships to attack smaller boats run by locals of the island. Not long ago a boat manned by four island residents was sunk. Luckily nobody died,” said Dung.

In a recent patrol carried out by the Border Post of Ly Son,  three ships were caught along with their loads. 

Major Nguyen Van Thanh, from the Border Post, commented that over-exploitation of sea area has been widely reported over the last several months. He added that the boats in question often stay offshore during daytime to avoid monitoring and drop their catches under the cover of night. "This is a problem that affects peoples' lives," Thanh said. 

Pham Thi Huong, vice chairperson of the district People’s Committee commented, "Local authorities find it difficult to control the situation because of lack of staff. These fishing vessels operate at nighttime and disappear in the day."

There are an estimated 1,200 drift-net fishing boats are operating in Quang Ngai Province, most of which come from Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa provinces.

Under current regulations, drift-net fishing boats with a capacity of 90 CV must operate offshore, and only boats with a capacity of less than 20 CV are allowed to operate close to the coast.

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