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Lobsters die en masse in Phú Yên

Update: June, 08/2017 - 15:23
Nguyễn Xuân Hải, a resident in Xuân Yên Ward, Sông Cầu Town, pulls his empty cages ashore after his lobsters have died en masse. – Photo
Viet Nam News

PHÚ YÊN – Residents engaged in breeding lobsters in the Xuân Đài Bay in Phú Yên are reeling under heavy losses following mass lobster deaths, the cause of which is still unknown.

The Xuân Đài Bay in Xuân Yên Ward, Sông Cầu Town, is a major lobster-breeding area in the central provinces.

Trần Văn Thuận, a local resident, said that he had raised 180 cages with more than 30,000 lobsters, which were to be harvested soon. However, not more than 700 remained.

Thuận has estimated his loss at VNĐ3 billion (US$133,300). To add to his woes, his wife fell ill in the past few days due to the loss.

Lê Thị Loan, another resident, also lost more than 20,000 lobsters worth VNĐ1.3 billion ($57,700).

Nguyễn Văn Thi, chairman of the Xuân Yên Ward People’s Committee, said among the 337 households in the ward suffering losses due to the lobster deaths, 80 per cent of them had suffered dead losses.

Phạm Kiên, chairman of the Sông Cầu Town, said that it was the first time that residents in Xuân Đài Bay had suffered such a huge loss.

“Many of them have become impoverished. They have lost both money and employment at the same time,” he said.

Speaking about the incident, Trần Hữu Thế, deputy chairman of the Phú Yên Province People’s Committee, said, “The losses are too serious.”

Suspected culprit

After the lobsters died en masse, hundreds of residents flocked to the aquatic product processing plant of the Nguyễn Hưng Co Ltd asking them for compensation, as they believed that the plant discharged waste water without treatment, leading to the lobster deaths.

In a conference on the issue held by the provincial People’s Committee last Friday (June 2), Lê Đào An Xuân, deputy director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the plant’s waste water treatment system was out of order since March this year.

The Nguyễn Hưng Co Ltd had then shifted its waste water treatment to another place without reporting it to the local authorities, she said.

Võ Văn Vân, an expert on waste water treatment of the company, said that during the past two months, the company had transported its waste water to the Phú Bình Plant, also in Sông Cầu Town, for treatment.

Nguyễn Hưng Hòa, director of the Nguyễn Hưng Co Ltd, said, “If competent organisations conclude that the company has violated rules, we will accept any punishment based on the regulations.”

Nguyễn Tri Phương, deputy director of the Phú Yên Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, on Wednesday said that inspectors were yet to reach a conclusion on the reasons for the lobster deaths.

The lobster samples must be tested carefully, and the results could be declared seven or 10 days later, he said. – VNS

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