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Experts urge action to end mass fish kills

Update: March, 07/2016 - 11:31
HA NOI (VNS) — Massive fish die-offs in many regions across the country recently have raised a big question about how local authorities should mitigate water pollution in aquaculture breeding areas.

Last month, more than 1,000 tonnes of fish raised in cages along the Cai Vung River in the southern provinces of An Giang and Dong Thap reportedly died off.
After that, more than 20 households along La Nga River of the southern Dong Nai Province suffered losses of more than 20 tonnes of fish. The total loss was estimated to be dozens of billions of dong.

In the middle of last year, fish reportedly died en masse at least three times in the Cha Va River in the southern Ba Ria Vung Tau Province. Wastewater from a nearby aquatic product processing factory was to blame.

Local authorities got involved to find solutions to these cases, such as giving financial assistance to farmers and cleaning the polluted water areas. However, the problem cannot be addressed thoroughly if the solutions are applied only to small, individual areas, said Dr. Dang Kim Son, former head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development.

He highlighted the importance of prevention rather than reacting when it’s already too late, an effort that requires the attention of both the State and farmers.
Local authorities should balance the bio-system of breeding areas and have irrigation plans for each breeding type, in addition to setting up expert inspection teams to supervise the water release of production bases, he said.

Monitoring and punishing violations remains difficult because many small-scale households and enterprises sneakily release waste, he added.

Chu Van Hai, director of analytical services and experimentation centre in HCM City, advised farmers to proactively conduct some measures to improve the aquatic environment for fish.

One measure is to provide enough oxygen to the fish by installing air pumps. Farmers should also use biological produce to improve water quality, he said. — VNS

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