Seafood are unloaded from fishing boats at the Tắc Cậu fishing port in Kiên Giang Province’s Châu Thành District. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang is taking measures to regenerate fish stocks in fishing grounds and help fishermen resolve difficulties like shortage of labour and lack of access to soft loans to ensure sustainable fishing.
Quảng Trọng Thao, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the plan is to reduce the number of near-shore fishing boats and increasing the number of large-capacity offshore boats.
This year all fishing boats with a capacity of more than 90 horsepower will have to install equipment to pinpoint their location, locate the richest fishing grounds and contact the mainland.
Those with a capacity of more than 400 HP have to install automatic identification systems and use new advanced preservation methods to improve the quality of their catch and spend more time fishing off shore.
The province will severely penalise fishermen who violate fishing regulations to ensure fish stock regeneration, according to the department.
It will train people in fishing skills to address the shortage of fishermen.
It will focus on creating a value chain for fishing and strengthening co-operation among offshore fishermen so that they can improve their incomes.
Kiên Giang has more than 9,800 fishing boats, the largest number in the country, including nearly 4,000 offshore boats of more than 15-metre length.
More than half of the latter have devices to identify their location.
The province has five main fishing ports, Tắc Cậu in Châu Thành District, An Thới and Thổ Châu in Phú Quốc District, Xẻo Nhàu in An Minh District, and Nam Du in Kiên Hải District.
Tắc Cậu and An Thới are in the country’s list of fishing ports that can certify the origin of fishermen’s catch.
Last year a large number of offshore fishing boats in Kiên Giang did not go fishing because of multiple problems like shortage of fishermen, depletion of fish stocks, lack of funds to go fishing offshore, and failure to install the requisite devices on boats.
A third of the 3,000 offshore fishing boats in Rạch Giá City have not gone into the sea since September 2018, according to the city Fisheries Association.
Trương Văn Ngữ, its chairman, blamed it on losses caused by a depletion in fish stocks.
The province’s fishermen caught 45,580 tonnes of seafood in the first month of the year, down 8.1 per cent from last year, according to the department.
The full-year target is 495,000 tonnes. – VNS