Ministry proposes options for resuming fishing activities hinh anh 1Delegates at the conference on assessment of damages caused by the incident in Thua Thien Hue province (Photo: VNA)
Thua Thien-Hue (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on August 27 proposed four options for resuming fishing activities along the central coast following the serious environmental incident caused by the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Company.

The options were submitted for discussions at a conference on assessment of damages caused by the incident in Thua Thien Hue province, with the participation of officials from the four affected provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien – Hue.

According to deputy head of the Directorate of Fisheries Nguyen Ngoc Oai, under the first option, fishing will be banned within 10 nautical miles from the shoreline stretching from Vung Ang of Ha Tinh to Son Cha isle of Thua Thien – Hue.

The second option will allow fishing in all but three specific areas which have been warned as unsafe by the Environment Ministry, including the waters within 1.5km from the shore in Son Duong (Ha Tinh), Nhat Le (Quang Binh) and Son Cha (Thua Thien – Hue).

Under the third option, only seabed trawling within 20 nautical miles from the shore of the four affected provinces will be banned while other fishing activities may resume.

The last option involves no fishing ban at all.

The ministry also noted that no matter which option is chosen, inspections on the safety of seafood will be intensified at all fishing ports.

Besides, the ministry said aquaculture can be resumed at sea and in coastal areas in all four provinces.

For the salt industry, the ministry advised local salt workers to resume normal production and collect samples for safety check-ups periodically.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the proposals on fishing, aquaculture and salt production in the four provinces were based on the assessment on the scale and level of sea pollution released by the Ministry and Natural Resources and Environment on August 22.

The environmental incident occurred in April, beginning with a large number of dead fish along the coast discovered in Ky Anh township, Ha Tinh province on April 6, then spread to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

It is estimated that some 15 tonnes of natural fish and 2 tonnes of farmed fish died in Ha Tinh province. Meanwhile in Thua Thien-Hue, some 30 tonnes of natural fish died and were washed up on beaches. The pollution damaged about 400 hectares of coral and affected over 260,000 people who earn their living by working in sea-related activities.

In late June, Formosa Ha Tinh accepted responsibility for the mass fish deaths. The company pledged to compensate over 11.5 trillion VND (500 million USD), which will be used to support local fishermen in changing their jobs and recover the polluted maritime environment. It also vowed to deal with shortcomings and limitations in waste and wastewater treatment.

On August 22, the environment ministry announced that the marine environment in the coastal areas of four central provinces is basically safe.-VNA