Fishing boats in Bình Thuận Province. Many have stopped going to sea after diesel prices rose to all-time high levels making fishing unprofitable. — Photo binhthuan.gov.vn
HCM CITY — The rise in fuel prices to all-time highs has caused many fishing boats in the provinces of Bình Thuận and Quảng Ngãi and in the Mekong Delta to stop going out to sea since the longer they sail the more losses they incur.
On March 1, the price of diesel increased to an unprecedented VNĐ20,800 (US$0.91) per litre, 10 per cent up from the end of last year and 70 per cent higher than at the end of 2020.
Hoàng Văn Thành, owner of a fishing ship in Bình Thuận’s Phan Thiết City, said at the current prices the cost of a fishing trip would be VNĐ120 million ($5,250), including VNĐ110 million just for fuel.
He would earn nothing from it and in fact likely make a loss, he said.
Trần Thanh, another boat owner in Bình Thuận, said trip requires 5,000 litres of oil, and at VNĐ20,800 instead of VNĐ19,800 for a litre, he has to spend another VNĐ5 million.
Not only ship owners but also fishermen are suffering as a result.
Võ Tấn Minh of Quảng Ngãi Province said since the Lunar New Year holidays in early February he has gone on just once fishing trip because the boat owner does not want to, and he is unable to provide for his family.
The situation is similar in the coastal provinces in the delta where fishing boats earn little or are even losing.
With a coastline of 56km and four large rivers draining into the sea, Sóc Trăng has nearly 400,000sq.km of fishing grounds and a large number of aquatic species.
It has more than 1,200 boats which catch more than 100,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with Đông Hải District accounting for half the vessels.
Đặng Quốc Thùy, a boat owner in Đông Hải’s Gành Hào Town, said the cost of his latest fishing trip was VNĐ60 million ($2,600) higher than before, VNĐ50 million for fuel and the rest for food and testing his crew for COVID.
He earned nothing from it, he said.
Together with a fall in seafood prices, the increased costs have caused many boat owners to stop fishing.
Trần Trịnh Xuân, another boat owner in Gành Hào, said the fuel costs for a one-month trip by a high-capacity boat have increased by VNĐ40–70 million ($1,760–3,100).
Nearly 70 per cent of boats in Đông Hải District have stopped going to sea, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development. — VNS