Khánh Hòa fishermen with their tuna catch. — Photo danviet.vn
KHÁNH HÒA — Tuna-fishing boats in the central province of Khánh Hòa are busy with the ongoing season, as a vessel can earn nearly VNĐ100 million (US$4,300) per trip, Dân Việt online newspaper reports.
On average, a boat using a net can harvest from 5 to 10 tonnes of tuna per trip.
High and stable prices, as well as favourable weather, are the main reasons for an expected bumper tuna season, according to a local fisherman.
The main fishing ground is the Trường Sa (Spratly) Islands and DK1 rigs (about 250-350 nautical miles from the mainland).
Tuna boats using nets are different from ocean fishing vessels.
Võ Khắc Én, deputy director of Khánh Hòa Province’s Fisheries Sub-department, said that there are 170 tuna-fishing boats operating regularly in the area.
Unlike ocean tuna-fishing ships, those using nets can be used all year and achieve a stable output.
According to Én, at present, the average cost for a 15-day tuna-fishing trip is about VNĐ100 million per boat.
A boat can harvest several tonnes to more than 10 tonnes of tuna per trip. After deducting all expenses, it has an average profit of up to VNĐ100 million.
At Hòn Rớ fishing port, Phước Đồng Commune, Nha Trang City, boats full of fish are constantly docking after successful fishing trips.
The Management Board of Hòn Rớ Fishing Port reported there have been about 100 tuna fishing boats docking at the port over the last 10 days. There are 5-7 boats docking at the port per day, with an average output of 5 to 10 tonnes each.
According to fishermen, the current tuna price and purchasing market is stable. The wholesale price ranges from VNĐ30,000-40,000 per kilogram. Price of Grade #1 tuna can reach up to VNĐ50,000 per kilogram.
Fisherman Trần Văn Nuôi, captain of a fishing boat in Hương Xuân Ward, Nha Trang City, said the current weather is very favourable for tuna-fishing.
Familiar fishing grounds have abundant sources of tuna. Therefore, the tuna-fishing trips last from 10 to 15 days.
“My boat harvested five tonnes of tuna on the last trip. After deducting expenses, I gained profit of VNĐ50-60 million," said Nuôi.
Another fisherman, Trần Văn Tuấn, in Hòn Rớ, Phước Đồng Commune, said on the last trip he caught about eight tonnes of tuna, earning more than VNĐ100 million after deducting all expenses.
Tuấn said: “Previously, tuna-fishing trips lasted longer than 15 days, with output of 10 to 20 tonnes.”
“But, due to the boats’ poor storage equipment, the tuna was damaged, so the low quality meant low prices.”
Recently, each trip lasted just 7 to 12 days. Although the output was lower, the quality of well-preserved fish means they can be sold at a higher price, Tuấn said.
“Previously, fishing boats landed at the same time, regularly from the 7th to the 15th lunar calendar. But, recently, fishermen told each other to dock throughout the month, so output is not overloaded, and prices are better,” a representative of the Hòn Rớ Fishing Port’s Management Board said. — VNS