Viet Nam News
TRÀ VINH — The fish catch off the coast of Trà Vinh Province has shrunk this year, but fishermen continue to have steady incomes thanks to the high prices of seafood.
The Mekong Delta province has caught around 57,500 tonnes so far this year, down more than 5,000 tonnes from the same period last year due to unfavourable weather and a reduction in fish stocks near shore, according to the local Fishery Sub-department.
The province has nearly 1,200 fishing boats, with nearly 70 per cent of them only capable of operating close to shore.
Trần Công Đức, who has been fishing for more than 30 years and lives in Trà Cú District’s Định An Town, said his two fishing boats fish near Côn Đảo islands in the southern province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and catch around 10 tonnes on a 20-day fishing trip, down one or two tonnes compared to past years.
But his profits have not reduced because of the increase in the prices of cuttlefish, leather jacket, croaker, and yellow stripe trevally, his major catches, he said.
Cuttlefish is now up VNĐ10,000 - 20,000 per kilogramme from last year to VNĐ110,000–150,000 (US$4.7 – 6.4).
He earns an average of VNĐ800 million - 1 billion ($34,300–42,800) annually, he said.
Trang Văn Ngào, chairman of the Định An Town People’s Committee, said thanks to seafood, locals have steady income from fishing and providing logistics services for it.
Định An Port is considered the province’s largest seafood wholesale market, with dozens of boats docking here to unload more than 70 tonnes a day.
It provides jobs for hundreds of people who earn an average income of VNĐ200,000 – 300,000 ($9 - 13) a day.
But it struggles with overloading with too many boats docking.
Nguyễn Văn Ngon, acting director of the port, said it can only accommodate about 100 fishing boats but there are days when 200 dock.
The port management plans to petition the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for upgrades.
To develop fishing sustainably, the province has adopted many support policies, including providing soft loans to fishermen to build and upgrade their boats.
It has provided loans worth more than VNĐ142 billion ($6 million) to fishermen for buying 11 high-capacity boats since 2014.
It has also helped them buy insurance for 281 boats and nearly 1,800 men.
It has stepped up inspections and persuades fishing boat owners to instal adequate safety equipment like communications tools, lifebuoys, lamps, and fire extinguishers.
The department has helped fishermen establish co-operation between fishing boats and those that provide logistics services and buy fish at sea.
This has helped fishermen contact each other when they have accidents at sea and to exchange information about weather conditions, fishing grounds and markets.
The province targets a total catch of 63,000 tonnes this year, according to the department. — VNS