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Farmers' Delta fishing dries up

Update: October, 12/2013 - 09:42
According to the Ha Noi Farming Development Centre, during almost three years, key farming areas have been formed within the city, meeting 60-65 per cent of the Ha Noi market's demand for meat.— Photo express
CUU LONG DELTA (VNS) — Farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta augment their income by catching fish and other aquatic creatures during the annual flood season, but the catch has been becoming meagre in recent years.

The flooding, usually between July and November, brings silt and an abundance of species from upstream, especially to Dong Thap and An Giang Provinces.

Nguyen Van Du, a farmer in a commune in Dong Thap Province's Hong Ngu District, says he catches crabs but only makes a profit of VND70,000-80,000 a day.

"Maybe I will find another job next year," he says.

Nguyen Trang Su, deputy chairman of the Hong Ngu People's Committee, says the catch in the river has generally reduced by half in recent years, with fishermen in the district together netting only 1,000-2,000 tonnes a year now.

He blames the decline on several reasons, including over exploitation in recent years.

Le Van Van of An Giang Province's An Phu District, who owns three fishing nets that are cast in the river using a system of poles to let fish and other aquatic species swim into them, says the nets now catch around 300kg of various fishes daily.

A fish known as ca linh is the most abundant.

"We caught 4-5 tonnes of ca linh a day in July last year when the flood season began," he says.

But at the beginning of this year's flood season he only caught 1 tonne.

Nguyen Van Vy, who catches blue-legged prawns in An Giang Province's An Phu District, says this year the water level too is lower than past years as is the quantity of blue-legged prawns.

His catch is down to around 20 prawns a day, or just a third of last year's.

He earns a profit of VND50,000-60,000 daily.

The An Giang Fisheries Protection Sub-department says the catch during the flood season has fallen by 60 per cent over the past decade.

Nguyen Huu Thien, an expert in ecology and natural systems based in the delta, says due to the impacts of climate change, rising sea levels, and the construction of dams upstream, aquatic species in the delta would continue declining.

The livelihoods of people in the delta's upstream areas would be severely hit, he warns. — VNS

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