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Nha Trang fishermen struggling

Update: August, 26/2017 - 08:10
A fishermen of Vĩnh Trường Ward in Nha Trang City harvests fish after a near-shore fishing trip. — Photo thanhtra.com.vn
Viet Nam News

KHÁNH HÒA – Near-shore fishery resources are declining and in danger of being in Vĩnh Trường Commune, Nha Trang City where 70 per cent of the population earn a living via the sea, forcing many fishermen to look for other lines of work.

Near-shore fishing wasn’t very profitable while off-shore fishing needed high-capacity vessels but few locals could access loans to build ships, said an old fisherman.   

Fisherman Trần Văn Bảy, 60, said previously, his family made about 20-25 near-shore trips per month. “Previous trips, starting from in the evening and returning the following morning, were usually full of fish, at a maximum of 2,000 to 3,000 kg and minimum of 500-700 kg per trip,” he said.

“Now, near-shore sea- resources are increasingly scarce so every month, my family has about 10 sea-going trips. In June and July, we didn’t earn any money from the trips.”

Most of the catch was cheap fish, so fater paying costs for the crew, petrol and maintenance, the vessel owner earned nothing.

Failed voyages in early August for Vĩnh Trường Ward’s fishermen caused many residents to fall into debt, forcing several ship owners to sell their vessels.

Many quit fishing and moved to other jobs such as trading goods, xe ôm (motorbike taxi driver) driving or they went south looking for work in large companies.      

"I have never seen fishing here so bad. Going to the sea and returning home empty-handed is common,” Bảy said.

“Four sons usually go with me on sea-going trips, but my ship’s crew have all quit fishing. Now, they are looking for new jobs,” he said.

Two months ago, the Trường Sơn Street’s fishermen group had about 42 boats, but now only seven operate.

Nguyễn Tấn Hùng, a ship owner in Trường Sơn St. said he had to sell his ship and become a xe ôm.

“Following sea-going trips, all ship owners must borrow loans to build ships but they can’t pay interest,” Hùng said.   

“Driving for a month I can earn from VNĐ3 to 4 million. I am very upset to have quit fishing, but I have to carry on.”

 Nguyễn Thái Học, Vice Chairman of People’s Committee of Vĩnh Trường Ward, said in the first six months of this year, seafood output in the area was estimated at 2,700 tonnes, down 10 per cent against the same period last year.

Currently, there are 430 vessels of all kinds in the locality, with 332 fishing vessels and 98 seafood purchasing and service vessels.

Because of unsustainable fishing methods, a changed sea environment and polluted water, the coastal fishery resources are declining.

At present, near-shore fishing that still using traditional measures was facing with difficulties due to seafood depletion.

He said “Previously, every early morning, Vĩnh Trường fishing port was crowded with fishing vessels and traders, and now the port is closed. The decreasing fishery production has seriously affected local residents.”

Among 3,800 households in Vĩnh Trường Ward, there are 163 poor households, with 960 in danger of becoming poor.

“If this problem isn’t solved, the number of poor households is likely to increase," he said.

Vĩnh Trương Ward People’s Committee assigned the association of farmers to help local fishermen change from near-shore fishing to off-shore fishing with loans.

However, most local fishermen can’t borrow loans to build offshore fishing vessels due to a lack of assets for mortgage.

“Fishermen need further support from the Khánh Hòa Province People’s Committee to establish technology training courses and prioritise borrowing loans, “ Học said. — VNS

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