|A household is evacuated due to illegal aquaculture in Bái Tử Long Bay, Cẩm Phả City in the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh. VNA/VNS Photo
QUẢNG NINH — Aquaculture production in Bái Tử Long Bay, Cẩm Phả City in the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh is the livelihood of hundreds of households - but many are encroaching illegally on the waters here.
Authorities say almost 100 households are moving in on the bay for illegal aquaculture, causing environmental pollution.
Despite being fined multiple times for violations, many households continue their activities, claiming that it is the only way they can make a living.
Since August 5, Cẩm Phả City has implemented the relocation of cages and foam buoys encroaching on the waterways for illegal aquaculture. The city’s authority has deterred 74 cases of violations and seized nearly 400 foam buoys and 125 bamboo arrays in an area of about five hectares for illegal aquaculture.
Currently, there are 24 violating households left. Of that, 13 have asked to have more time to relocate and 11 were forced to move.
These households have shown disagreements when being asked to relocate their illegal aquaculture production. Many have gathered on Cạp Vọ Island in Cẩm Trung Ward and asked for more time to harvest before moving out.
They claim that they have borrowed billions of đồng to invest in raising breeding with the hope that they would have a source of income to pay the debt after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the past two years, oysters and clams could not be sold or sold at very low prices, causing heavy losses for fishermen. The relocation at this time would cause the losses of billions of đồng and put them in debt, they said.
|An aquaculture farmer works with the authorities concerning illegal aquaculture production. VNA/VNS Photo
Since 2018, the city’s forces have detected violations by many households. Although the city required these households to dismantle and relocate their cages, they did not comply.
Due to loose management, the households have accepted the fines and continued to start new crops after harvesting.
According to the city’s Economic Office, there are two biggest consequences of illegal farming on the sea route.
Most households have raised aquaculture on the sea route, even the national waterway, affecting the traffic flow and water safety.
In addition, illegal production has caused severe environmental pollution, affecting the beauty and ecology of Bái Tử Long Bay.
An aquaculture farmer, who wished to remain anonymous, said he kept expanding the raising area in order to make a living and earn money to repay bank loans.
He said he accepted to be fined but will continue his business.
Phan Văn Kính, Vice Chairman of Cẩm Phả City People's Committee said the city's security order and an environmental inspection team were assigned to be in charge of the issue.
However, it was the responsibility of both the team and the unit in charge of the sea area when illegal aquaculture activities haven’t been deterred since 2018.
The city has requested the violating households to pay fines and relocate as soon as possible.
On August 29, the city’s People's Committee temporarily suspended the work of four officials involved in illegal aquaculture in Bái Tử Long Bay.
The four officers and employees of the city’s security order and environment inspection team are Phạm Thành Nam, deputy head of the team, Trần Văn Hùng, Đoàn Quốc Hiệp, and Bùi Duy Tùng.
They have been suspended from work for 15 days for the inspection of the city’s Party Committee's Inspection Committee involved in illegal aquaculture violations in the bay.
The committee said to avoid the recurrence of illegal aquaculture, it had assigned commune authorities to strictly manage the marine area, establish inspection and control groups on sea routes, and coordinate with the police and the military command board to conduct daily inspection and control over the sea area.
Any violations would be handled immediately, he said. — VNS