Fish deaths found onshore in Quang Binh (Photo: VNA)

Quang Binh (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung hosted a dialogue with locals in central Quang Binh province’s Bao Ninh commune concerning recent mass fish deaths on April 29.

Bao Ninh commune suffered economic damage worth 25 billion VND (1.125 million USD) from the incident, as nearly half of its 400 fishing boats are operating near shore. More than 1,000 local fishermen are now jobless.

Vo Trong Thanh, a resident in Bao Ninh’s Dong Duong village, said he is worried about the situation and hoped to learn about the causes behind the mass fish deaths shortly.

He said a clear announcement on the matters would allow fishermen to sail again.

The Deputy PM stated a focal task of all-level agencies is to mobilise all available resources to address concerns and requirements of those affected by the fish deaths.

Later the same day, Dung held an urgent meeting with Quang Binh’s authorities to discuss aid for the affected.

Quang binh is home to 60,000 people working in the fishing industry, thus initial damage is estimated to reach approximately 175 billion VND (7.87 million USD).

At the meeting, a representative from the provincial People’s Committee proposed rescheduling loan repayment, reducing interest rate for businesses, organisations and individuals working in the fishery sector.

The official asked for 2,700 tonnes of rice and 186 billion VND (8.37 million USD) as relief aid for affected people.

The Government official admitted slow announcement of inspection results as this is the first-ever such complicated case.

He noted the causes of fish deaths, the time when sea fish are safe to be consumed, and the locations for safe fishing will soon be publicised.

The Government has tasked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Finance Ministry with devising plans to help fishermen access bank loans, extend duration of repayment, and sell fish caught offshore, he said.

On April 30, the Office of the Government issued Document 70/TB-VPCP containing conclusions by the Deputy PM following his working visits to Quang Binh and Ha Tinh to inquire into the impact of the mass fish deaths.

Accordingly, the MARD, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), and the State Bank of Vietnam are required to immediately set up working groups to be posted in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien – Hue for coordination with local authorities to deal with relating issues that may arise.

The MONRE is assigned to quickly figure out the causes behind the incident with support from foreign consultants.-VNA