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Dredging to blame for fish-farm losses

Update: April, 22/2015 - 08:39
About 100 fish farmers in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa dumped dead fish and shrimps in front of their local administration office yesterday to protesting at two dredging projects in Cam Ranh Gulf that they claimed were polluting the water where they raised the fish and shrimps in cages. — Photo 24h.com.vn

KHANH HOA (VNS) — About 100 fish farmers in the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa dumped dead fish and shrimps in front of their local administration office yesterday.

They were protesting at two dredging projects in Cam Ranh Gulf that they claimed were polluting the water where they raised the fish and shrimps in cages.

The protest created traffic congestion on the north-south National Highway 1A for two hours, Voice of Viet Nam reported.

The farmers, from Cam Phuc Bac ward in Cam Ranh City, claimed that two projects were causing mass wipe-outs of sea life.

The two companies in charge of the projects are the Green Environment Development and Construction JSC, which is undertaking a military project to dredge a Navy-controlled area in the middle of the gulf near a military base - and the Cai Mep Company which was hired to clean up the ecological environment of the Thuy Trieu Marsh, also in the gulf.

Tuoitre.vn reported that the crowd dispersed after they had been called into the local government office for talks with the vice mayor of Cam Ranh City, Nguyen Ngoc Son.

This online newspaper was told by Son that he had ordered the two projects to suspend operations and took samples of the dead fish and shrimp for testing to see what caused their death. "If the fish and shrimp died due to the pollution of water caused by the company, the project owners must bear responsibility," he said.

Tuoitre.vn interviewed a fisherman named Pham Van Khai who owns eight lobster cages raising about 800 lobsters in the marsh, each worth nearly VND1 million (US$50).

He said that his lobsters had died in an increasing number over the past few days.

Khai was reported as saying that the protesting fishermen had filed complaints to the local government, but dredging continued unabated.

Meanwhile, the online Dan Tri newspaper interviewed a female fish farmer known as Nguyen Thi My Huong, who lives in Hoa Do 5a Village.

She claimed that since late last year, the dredging projects had made the gulf water murky and smell foul, which caused 70 per cent of her raised fish and shrimps to die.

Huong said she suffered heavy losses as the money for investment in her farm came from a bank loan.

Another fisherman, Nguyen Tuong Quan, claimed that he had lost shrimps and fish worth VND60 million (US$3,000).

"The Government needs to identify the cause of the mass deaths," Quan told Dan Tri . "The fishermen must be compensated.". — VNS

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