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Oysters die by the thousands at farms across Tien Giang

Update: April, 10/2015 - 08:56
Breeders check oysters being raised at Tan Thanh Commune in Go Cong Dong District in the southern province of Tien Giang. Oysters have died en masse during the past three weeks. — Photo khuyennongvn.gov.vn

TIEN GIANG (VNS) — Oysters being raised at Tan Thanh Commune in Go Cong Dong District in the southern province of Tien Giang have died en masse during the past three weeks.

Nguyen Thi Men, director of the Tien Giang Department of Animal Health, said that dead oysters filled more than 1,100ha of the 1,212ha farmed. It is calculated that more than 11,300 tonnes of the shellfish died.

Ngo Phi Truong, chairman of the Tan Thanh Commune People's Committee, said that the incident was a repeat of what had happened at the beginning of 2013, which wiped out oysters worth VND300 billion (US$14.2 million).

This year, each of the 160 households in the commune suffered a loss of hundreds of millions dong or more.

The commune has still to define the cause of the wipe-out so it can ask provincial authorities for financial aid to recover, Truong said.

Experience, however, indicates that the oysters died because a recent north-east wind sharply increased the salt content of the water.

But some farmers reported that a strange barge had discharged waste into the sea about a month ago causing water pollution.

"State research agencies should help local farmers define the exact reasons of the incident so that they can prevent further occurrences," said Truong.

Huynh Thi To, deputy chairwoman of the Go Cong Dong District People's Committee, said that the district's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had taken sea water and oyster samples for tests, but had not found anything toxic.

To minimise the loss, she advised farmers to move the oysters to another place and not to raise them too close together. The best density was 200-300 oysters per square metre.

They should also closely check weather conditions so that oysters can be raised or shifted if necessary. — VNS

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