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Fishing boats face difficulties when estuaries fill up

Update: January, 13/2015 - 09:07
More than 700 fishing ships use Da Nong Estuary in Dong Hoa District. It has also filled with sand, making it difficult for ships to enter and anchor. Between 15 and 20 fishing ships are caught on shoals or damaged while entering the estuary each year. — Photo sggp

PHU YEN (VNS) — Many estuaries in the central province of Phu Yen have filled with sand and narrowed, making them harder for fishing ships to navigate.

Le Thinh Estuary in Tuy An District and Da Dien Estuary in Tuy Hoa City, for example, have been reduced to depths of less than 2m, and narrowed to between 15 and 20m. Local fishermen say their ships need depths of 3.2 to 3.7m to make it through.

More than 700 fishing ships use Da Nong Estuary in Dong Hoa District. It has also filled with sand, making it difficult for ships to enter and anchor. Between 15 and 20 fishing ships are caught on shoals or damaged while entering the estuary each year.

Although these estuaries are dredged frequently, sand keeps building up after flood and storm seasons. Da Dien Estuary was dredged last year, but recent storms brought the sand back.

Storms and floods also led to the suspension of a project to dredge Da Dien Estuary late last year. More than 216,000cu.m of remaining sand are expected to be removed early this year when the weather clears up.

Nguyen Van Hoang, a fisherman in An Ninh Tay Commune, said when estuaries filled up with sand, it was easy for fishing ships to go aground or drift into rocky bays, causing damage and even causing seven ships to sink over the past few years.

The sand has also forced hundreds of fishing boats to anchor along the coast of An Ninh Dong Commune instead of anchoring at port, which threatens their safety, he said.

"Fishermen like us expect the State to soon implement projects to dredge estuaries to create better conditions for fishing ships," he said.

Nguyen Phung Ngoan, chairman of the People's Committee of Tuy An District, said the dredging was essential not only to make sure fishing ships can use the waterways, but also to help reduce flooding in low-land areas.

Local authorities have been pushing dredging project investors to speed up their work in the district and complete their tasks before the second quarter, he said.

However, Ngoan said, dredging was not enough. It would also be necessary to build embankments to prevent landslides and floods, to ensure the safety of ships and their fishermen. — VNS

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