Nov 23, 2012

Vietnam - Chinese fishing technology extirpates Binh Dinh’s tunas

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VietNamNet Bridge – The new tuna fishing technology imported from China has generated an “exploit” to the fisheries industry in Binh Dinh province. However, while helping increase the output, the technology will push the industry to the verge of an abyss.

High voltage lamps abused

The Binh Dinh province has 2300 vehicles for offshore fishing, including 1500 ones for tuna fishing with which local fishermen have caught 9041 tons of fish so far this year.

Binh Dinh’s tuna had been favored by clients thanks to its high and stable quality--until the day a lot of ship owners stopped fishing with the traditional technology and begin fishing with imported high voltage lamp systems.

Van Cong Viet, a fisherman in Hai Cang ward of Quy Nhon City, the owner of two fishing boats, said that the tunas caught with the new technology have been refused by merchants. Reasoning the low quality, the merchants only pay 85,000 dong per kilo. Meanwhile, local fishermen previously sold at 137,000 dong.

Viet said that the unexpected sharp price fall by 50 percent has made fishermen suffer, because newly caught fish has not been sold.

However, this proves not to be the worst consequence brought by the Chinese fishing technology which tries to extirpate fishes.

Fishing with lamps, the purely Chinese color technology was “imported” to Vietnam by some fishermen in Tam Quan area in 2011. Under the technology, fishermen use high voltage lamp systems with the capacity of 1000 W and higher to seduce fishes.

One just needs to spend 100-150 million dong only to buy a system of 20 lamps and a power generator; which fits the pockets of Vietnamese fishermen. Nguyen Van An, a fisherman in Tam Quan Bac commune of Hoai Nhon district, said the technology helps increase the output by two folds or three folds, thus allowing shortening the trips to the open sea to 20-25 days instead of 30 days and saving costs.

This explains how the fishing villages in Binh Dinh province have been deluded by the Chinese technology.

Everyone in the sea province has been rushing to buy high voltage lamps and power generators for their ships.

However, local fishermen have to pay a heavy price for their short term vision and the principle of “living from hand to mouth,” They may lose the Binh Dinh tuna brand which has been developed over the last many years.

Viet, the farmer, also admitted the weak point of his products. “The fishes look pale, while they are not as good as previously,” Viet said.

Meanwhile, Mai Kim Thi, a senior official of the Binh Dinh provincial sub-department for aquatic exploitation and protection, said there has been no scientific research work which says about whether high voltage lamps should be used to catch tuna. Therefore, the watchdog agency still cannot give advices or make recommendations on the issue.

Vo Thien Lang, Deputy Chair of the Vietnam Fisheries Association, has warned that the tuna fishing industry has threatened the sustainability of the traditional fishing industry.

He said the fish caught with the new technology has low quality and they have spawn. The water areas where fishermen focus to fish may be the spawning areas of ocean tuna.

Lang has urged the watchdog agency to set up the regulation prohibiting fishermen to catch tuna with high voltage lamps which may eradicate the tuna.

Lao Dong

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