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River-farm sea bass die in thousands

Update: September, 26/2015 - 08:53

A massive amount of wastewater released from the Bara Do Diem sewer killed Asian sea bass being raised in dozens of cages in Ho Do commune, Loc Ha district, causing billions of dong in losses for farmers. — Photo danviet.vn

HA TINH (VNS) — A massive amount of wastewater released from the Bara Do Diem sewer killed Asian sea bass being raised in dozens of cages in Ho Do commune, Loc Ha district, causing billions of dong in losses for farmers.

The water was pumped out without warning to the farmers, following torrential rains in the province last week.

"My family made a cage worth over VND100 million (US$4,445) to raise 2,000 Asian sea bass on Ho Do River," Vo Viet Luong, a farmer in the commune, told Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper about his loss. "The Asian sea bass, which weigh 500 to 700 grams each and are about to be harvested, suddenly died."

The salinity level had been reduced to 0 per cent, according to Nguyen Thi Duyen, an officer of Loc Ha district's agricultural department, after an inspection of the affected fish farming area.

Water ferns and a large amount of mud deposits from the sewer decreased oxygen levels, which changed the ecology of the water and caused the massive fish kill, residents said.

The farmers also blamed the issue on the irresponsibility of local authorities.

Assistance

In 2014, the provincial People's Committee pled-ged to contribute VND30 million ($1,300) to each 90 cubic-metre, four-compartment cage.

Since February last year, farmers have been raising fish in four-compartment cages and waiting for the authorities to assess the cages' quality to be eligible for financial assistance. However, two months later, the district's agricultural department said only six-compartment cages were eligible for support. At that time, it was too late for the farmers to make additional squares, said Le The Thanh, a land survey, environmental and agricultural officer in Ho Do commune.

"If we had not been waiting for the officers, we would not have suffered from this big loss," farmer Truong Huy Chien said.

Fish could have been sold in August, but the authorities' slow progress prevented the farmers from doing so, Chien added.

Loc Ha district authorities were collaborating with the provincial department of agriculture and rural development to support river-fish farming households in the commune, said Phan Van Nhan, vice chairman of the district People's Committee.

According to the government's regulation, each household will be given VND10 million ($445) per cage to compensate for the loss caused by the environmental breach. — VNS



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