QUANG NGAI (VNS) — Bui Hat's fishing boat with 13 men on board returned to shore in central Quang Ngai Province on Monday with its hold full of fish after nearly a month offshore.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Hat of Binh Son District's Binh Chau Commune as saying: "By Tuesday morning I finished selling all the fish in my boat and earned more than VND400 million (US$19,000).
"After deducting all costs for the trip, I earned a profit of more than VND300 million."
In fact he made a profit on every fishing trip, and it added up to more than VND3 billion ($146,000), the highest profits in more than 10 years.
Pham Van Tuan of Tu Nghia District had a similar story, saying his two fishing boats also made a combined profit of VND3 billion last year.
"I hope this year the catch will be as good as last year or better. It will help improve the lives of fishermen."
Most of the 7,000 fishing boats in Quang Ngai reported bumper catches last year.
One fisherman attributed this to the favourable weather. In all they caught 126,000 tonnes of fish, 12 per cent higher than in 2011, according to the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In Ly Son Island alone, fishermen caught more than 29,000 tonnes worth VND241.2 billion ($11.4 million), a 10 per cent rise in volume.
Tran Ngoc Nguyen, chairman of the Ly Son District People's Committee, attributed this to local fishermen investing in new boats and upgrading existing ones to fish offshore.
"Most Ly Son fishermen now fish offshore in traditional fishing grounds, so the volume continues to increase," he said.
"The Government's support with regard to security and fuel for the fishermen has also encouraged and helped them fish offshore for long periods."
Many fishermen are building new fishing boats this year.
Pham Hanh of Tu Nghia District is building a new boat with a 400 horse-power engine which cost him around VND3.5 billion.
"I earned big profits from offshore fishing last year, so I am now building one more fishing boat," he said.
Phan Huy Hoang, deputy director of the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said many fishermen had also acquired new boats last year. The actual number was 150.
"The province will continue to encourage and support fishermen to help them feel secure while fishing offshore," Hoang said.
Ngo Thi Kim Ngoc, chairwoman of the Quang Ngai Province Labour Federation, said her federation last Sunday gave VND980 million ($46,000) to four fishing families whose members had met with accidents while fishing in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
The money is for building new boats, buy equipment, and repay bank loans. — VNS