Cơ Tu people help save freshwater fish from extinction

October 02, 2020 - 09:01

Scientists are working with the Cơ Tu community on a conservation program to sustain levels of fresh water fish.


A Niên fish is measured as part of a conservation plan in the Cơ Tu community.  — Photo courtesy Chu Mạnh Trinh 

ĐÀ NẴNG — Scientists are working with the Cơ Tu community on a conservation programme to sustain levels of freshwater fish.

The Niên fish (Onychostoma gerlachi) can be found up-stream in the Cu Đê River in the suburban Hòa Bắc commune of the city.

Chairman of the commune People’s Committee, Thái Văn Hoài Nam said the project received funding from the United Nations of Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s Small Grants Programme to promote the preservation of culture among Cơ Tu community and conservation of the Bà Nà-Núi Chúa nature reserve.


A dish of grilled Niên fish --  a freshwater fish -- is cooked by Cơ Tu people in Hòa Bắc commune of Đà Nẵng City. The ethnic group community began conservation of the fish species for sustainable devlopment and eco-tours. VNS Photo Công Thành 

Nam said the project also aims to develop community-based eco-tourism as well as highlighting the craftwork of the Cơ Tu people.

Dr. Chu Mạnh Trinh, an expert of conservation from the Chàm Island Marine Protected Area, said the conservation of the fish species needs education about the traditional use of fishing tools that had been preserved by the Cơ Tu community.

He said local people should eliminate over-fishing and electric shock fishing.

Đinh Văn Như, an official from Giàn Bí village, said ethnic Cơ Tu group do not use electric shock fishing, but only use cross-bow, tridents or nets to catch fish up-stream.

He said electric shock fishing was a method used by people from other areas, which has resulted in a drop in the levels of fish.

Như said the species became a favourite food at restaurants in cities, and is the most hunted fish in the river with each kilo of the fish priced up to VNĐ300,000 ($13).

According to a report from local authorities, traditional fishing manner using cross-bow, fishing rod and net occupied 90 per cent, and 10 per cent was electric shock.

However, the electric shock would lead to a serious reduction of the population, and the fish will be soon extinct.


A section of Cu Đê River runs through Tà Lang and Giàn Bí villages of Hòa Bắc commune, 40km west of Đà Nẵng City. The two villages began a community-based tourism pilot project  in 2019.  — VNS Photo Bùi Văn Tuấn 

Villagers of Tà Lang and Giàn Bí – 40km west of Đà Nẵng city – still preserve their traditional culture, gong and dance play, language and brocade weaving.

The two villages – which situated in a vast valley between the two nature reserves of Bạch Mã in Thừa Thiên-Huế and Bà Nà-Núi Chúa began a community-based tourism pilot project from last year. — VNS