A newly-built ​fishing vessel was handed over to fisherm​en in central Ha Tinh province. (Photo: VNA)

Ha Tinh (VNA) – More than 80,000 labourers in the fishing industry and other marine businesses in the central province of Ha Tinh have received assistance in various forms from local authorities following the serious environmental incident that affected four north central coastal localities.

Immediately after the mass fish deaths that forced fishermen to stop going to sea in May, the province distributed 605.2 tonnes of rice, worth over six billion VND (270,000 USD) to 26,898 people in Ky Anh town and Ky Anh district.

Nearly 900 tonnes of rice provided from the national reserve were given to 39,976 people in the coastal communes of Cam Xuyen, Thach Ha, Loc Ha, Nghi Xuan and Ky Anh.

Financial aid, worth 21.5 billion VND (967.5 USD) has been provided for 4,681 owners of fishing vessels.

Local banks have also reduced interest rates on outstanding loans or rescheduled debt payment for affected fishery business owners, fishing logistics vessels and fishermen, while offering more preferential loans to help them resume operation or switch to other trades.

On July 1, Ha Tinh established a provincial council and missions at all levels to assess the damage caused to the province by the environmental crisis.

Initial statistics showed that Ha Tinh’s total seafood output in the first six months of this year was down 16,000 tonnes year on year.

The mass fish deaths along beaches in the central region, including Ha Tinh, in early April, were found to be the result of flawed waste and wastewater treatment of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company.

Formosa accepted responsibility for the incident and promised a total compensation of 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD) to support local fishermen to switch to other jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment.-VNA