THANH HÓA – Thanh Hóa Province leader Trịnh Văn Chiến apologised yesterday to the residents of Sầm Sơn Township for authorities’ actions after local fishermen protested for 10 days against a tourism project.
The protests, which started on February 26, drew in hundreds of fishermen from Quảng Cư Commune and three wards of Trung Sơn, Bắc Sơn and Trường Sơn. The protesters yelled loudly and hung banners calling on authorities to stop taking the coastal land that nearly 10,000 residents use to access the sea for fishing.
The residents, in a meeting with provincial leaders yesterday, said they had reached an agreement with authorities to further develop the coast for tourism purposes, but also said the livelihoods of fishermen should be taken into account.
“Generations of our families have earned our living by fishing. We were about to lose our incomes now, and of course we had to fight against it,” said Cao Văn Bình of Trường Sơn Ward.
Thanh Hóa Party Secretary Trịnh Văn Chiến said he was sorry for what had happened over the last 10 days, and he gave orders to protect between 300m and 1.5km of the coastline from the project to ensure the livelihoods of the locals.
The fishermen used to dock their boats along the 3.5km-long coastline that was planned to be handed over to the FLC Group for a VNĐ315 billion ($14 million) project that aims to establish a tourism zone on the east of Hồ Xuân Hương Street along the coast of Sầm Sơn beach, a famous spot for summer vacations.
The province had planned a new dock to replace the old one, but most fishermen were against the idea because it was too far - about 10km - from their houses. – VNS