|Farmers catch molluscs in Binh Thuan Sea. The province has banned mollusc gathering to protect the marine resources. — VNS Photo Courtesy of tuoitre.vn
BINH THUAN (VNS) — The central province of Binh Thuan has imposed a three-month mollusc gathering ban as part of efforts to protect and regenerate dwindling marine resources.
The ban, taking effect immediately, restricts fishermen from gathering molluscs – a local seafood specialty that includes scallops, Ark clam and Undulating venus clam.
The province's Agriculture and Rural Development Department, Border Guard and People's Committees at coastal districts and communes have been asked to strictly inspect and punish violators of the ban.
"Those who are found to violate the ban have to pay fines of VND1.5 million to VND20 million (US$70-950)," said Huynh Quang Huy, head of the province's Fisheries Department.
Huy told Viet Nam News that the restriction had been imposed very year since 2000 during the reproductive season.
He said that in the beginning, there had been opposition from a group of fishermen to the move as it reduced their income during the ban period.
Local authorities and relevant agencies had to work hard to raise public awareness of the need to protect local marine resources and help them reproduce.
In 2012, the ban was applied for a whole year, and molluscs in the local sea were seen to grow to their highest numbers in the last 70 years, Huy said, adding that the result was "vivid evidence" that convinced local fishermen.
He noted that the restriction would not affect fishermen much as they could do other jobs besides gathering molluscs.
Binh Thuan, home to molluscs of high economic value, is also one of the biggest fishing grounds in Viet Nam. At present, the province has about 8,000 fishing boats, of which nearly 1,000 are used to collect molluscs.
The annual yield of scallops in the province is nearly 9,000 tonnes or 50 per cent of its fishing output; while that of the Ark clam is nearly 2,000 tonnes.
In the last few years, marine resource reserves in the province had been declining due to the deployment of illegal and unsustainable methods including catching fish fry, fishing during the reproductive season and using explosives, Huy said.
Hence, it was imperative that the province takes protective measures like fishing bans, he added. — VNS