Quảng Bình fishermen work to protect marine environment

March 11, 2022 - 08:06
Fishermen in the central coastal province of Quảng Bình take rubbish bags during their long sea trips to bring garbage back to land instead of discharging it to the ocean.


A fisherman places a waste container on the ship before going offshore for fishing. — Photo tuoitre.vn

QUẢNG BÌNH — Fishermen in the central coastal province of Quảng Bình take rubbish bags during their long sea trips to bring garbage back to land instead of discharging it to the ocean.

The new habit shows determination to protect the marine environment and hope for a bumper catch during fishing trips.

In preparations for long trips, with more than 300 fishing vessels docking at Roon River, fishermen in Cảnh Dương Commune, Quảng Trạch District, ship owners not only prepare food and other necessities but also place cargo nets or baskets onboard to collect garbage discharged during the trips.

Boat owner Lê Ngọc Tình, 54, told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) online newspaper that fishermen have been aware of the significance of sea and aquatic resources protection. They pick up the marine litter for proper disposal while fishing.

Tình is one of the first fishermen in this area to bring waste containers while fishing offshore. He made use of old fishing nets to make two big bags for waste collection. 

He places the two bags on the ship, one used for collecting recyclable waste like plastic bottles and cans and the other used for unrecyclable waste. 

Each trip will last between 10-20 days and he and eight other fishermen onboard will discharge an average of 10kg of waste during each trip.

Fishermen used to throw waste directly into the ocean when they cooked or after drinking a bottle of water or a beer can, according to Tình. But now they often remind each other to collect and bring garbage back to land. 

If fishermen do not protect the maritime environment, the amount of seafood will decline, he said.

Fisherman Nguyễn Văn Ban from Quảng Văn Commune said local fishermen do not only collect waste from their own vessels but also pick up trash found in the sea.

The Quảng Bình fisheries office built a model calling on fishermen to collect garbage during offshore trips in August 2020, and chose Cảnh Dương Commune to pilot the model. Fishermen were provided with guidance to make rubbish bags from damaged fishing nets for cost reduction. Each bag is around 1m long and 0.5m wide.

The bags are placed at the end of the vessels in order to not affect fishing activities. Local authorities assigned personnel and devices to collect waste upon the ships’ return.

After two years, more than 500 ships in the commune participated in the campaign. One vessel is estimated to collect an average of about 100kg of waste a year, head of the office Lê Ngọc Linh said.

There are more than 1,500 fishing ships operating offshore in Quảng Bình. Fishermen often have to prepare a lot of basic necessities for each long trip, meaning the volume of waste discharged from these vessels is huge, according to Linh.

If they discharge waste into the sea, it would pollute the maritime environment and destroy the marine ecosystem, he said. Non-biodegradable waste such as cans, plastic bottles and damaged fishing nets pose high risks for aquatic species, including endangered and rare species like dolphins, whales and sea turtles. 

Local authorities will try to expand this model to help better protect the environment, he said. 

Protecting the environment means protecting the life of fishermen, he said. — VNS