Fishing boats in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế head out to sea. — VNA/VNS Photo
THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — Fishermen across the country are heading back out to sea in their droves after the recent drop in petrol prices.
When gas prices shot up, many moored their boats, unable to afford to pay for the petrol for their journeys.
But now the cost of fuel has been slashed by around VNĐ3,000 (0.13 USD) per litre, fishermen are casting their nets once more.
In Phú Thuận Commune, Phú Vang District in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế, fishermen are feeling more optimistic.
Ngô Đức Sơn said that on average, his boat needed about 1,400 litres of diesel fuel for a 10-day trip.
The reduced gas prices saved him around VNĐ 5-7 million per trip.
"When the price of diesel increased to a record high, so many fishermen were hesitant to go to sea,” he said.
“As the price has decreased, we are far more motivated."
According to many fishermen, for a boat to go out to sea, fuel costs account for 70-80 per cent of the total cost of each trip.
The increase also affected other costs, like the price of ice and transportation to and from port.
Phú Thuận Commune currently has 53 offshore fishing vessels and 125 small-capacity boats operating.
In the first half of this year, local boats caught only 2,205 tonnes, half the amount compared to the same period last year.
Chairman of the commune People's Committee Đặng Tiến Tùy said that in the past few days, fishermen were excited to get back to work.
But further reductions in petrol prices would go a long way to supporting the community even more.
He said: "Local government is continuing to call on fishermen to overcome difficulties to head out to sea, ensuring the output of seafood.”
Fishing boats in the northern province of Quảng Ninh are ready for sea. — VNA/VNS Photo
The joy can also be felt in the northern province of Quảng Ninh.
Fisherman Phạm Văn Chuyển, of Quảng Yên Town, has been busy checking boats and loading the necessary fuel for a three-day trip.
He said: "Fuel prices are still quite high compared to previous years. However, we still are heading out to sea. If our boats are unused, they will degrade very quickly."
Chuyển hopes this next trip will help him pay workers' wages and cover all his costs.
Quảng Ninh Province has more than 200 offshore fishing vessels and nearly 40 per cent of them stopped working because of the fuel price hike.
Đỗ Đình Minh, Director of Quảng Ninh Fisheries Sub-Department, said that during the time when petrol prices were high, fishermen opted not go to sea instead spending their time carrying out maintenance on boats and equipment.
The knock-on effect has also caused a slight drop in prices of seafood sold at markets in Hạ Long and Quảng Ninh cities.
Vũ Thị Thêu, a small trader at Cái Dăm Market, Bãi Cháy Ward, said that thanks to reduced petrol prices, she had been able to pass on the savings to customers.
"When the price of gasoline increased, a kilo of fried squid cakes cost VNĐ400,000 - 420,000 but now it is reduced to VNĐ370,000 - 380,000," she said.
"We want further reductions so people will buy more. When the prices went up we lost many sales to tourists who were not buying.”
Meanwhile it’s been a similar story for fishermen in the central province of Hà Tĩnh.
Nguyễn Văn Hào recently returned from one trip, but he’s already preparing for the next.
He said the whole atmosphere at Cửa Sót fishing port in Thạch Kim Commune, Lộc Hà District had become much more vibrant among the fishing community.
“On average, each offshore fishing trip lasting around two weeks needs about 2,500-3,000 litres of diesel oil,” Hào said.
“Now that the price has decreased by more than VNĐ3,000 per litre, I calculate that I will save about VNĐ10 million."
Chairman of Thạch Kim Fisheries Union Lê Tiến Hải said the whole commune had about 102 fishing boats but around a third had been stuck at shore as people couldn’t afford to fill them with petrol.
"The price of gasoline dropping by VNĐ3,000 per litre gave people more motivation to go out to sea again," he said.
Fisherman Nguyễn Văn Đông said that in the past few days smiles had returned to people’s faces.
He hopes the weather will continue to be good to fish in the near future.
"Hopefully, the weather will be favourable for the upcoming trips so we can work more efficiently, making up for previous losses," Đông said. — VNS