|Most tuna fishing trips in Khánh Hòa Province end up with not more than 15 units of the fish on average, not enough to break even. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vân
KHÁNH HÒA — After a 20-day trip to sea during Tết (Lunar New Year), most fishing boats in Khánh Hòa Province caught 15 units of tuna fish on average, down by almost half from a year earlier.
Some only managed five-seven units.
Trần Bé, a boat captain, said he was lucky enough to break even after catching 26 units, or almost one tonne.
The trips last 18-28 days and cost an average of VNĐ100-150 million (US$4,333-6,500) per boat, meaning 20-30 units of the fish need to be caught to break even.
As a result, only two or three out of 10 trips are profitable despite a surge in tuna prices.
Overexploitation, especially the catching of juvenile fish, has caused a decrease in fishing stocks, according to Vũ Văn Đáp, chairman of the Việt Nam Tuna Association.
The country’s tuna output had declined by 5 per cent last year to 17,000 tonnes.
Nguyễn Thị Thu Thanh, director of Bền Vững Seafood Co, Ltd, said companies face a shortage of tuna for processing due to a strong fall in catches, and have no choice but to buy though the price of the fish has surged to US$5 per kilogramme from $3.5 last November.
Amid the pandemic, export orders from the US helped companies maintain production.
The shrinking tuna output has seen authorities restructure exploitation activities and improve product quality to get better prices.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến said to sustainably develop the tuna sector, it is important to regulate the number of fishing boats and catch up with other countries in terms of technology instead of focusing too much on quantity. — VNS