Aquaculture farmers in Dong Minh commune, Thai Binh province, collect dead oysters. (Photo: VNA)

Thai Binh (VNA) - Massive oyster deaths in Tien Hai district, the northern province of Thai Binh, in recent days have devastated local farmers.

Oyster raising is the main source of income for farmers in Tien Hai’s Dong Minh commune. About 285 households in the locality raise oyster on nearly 450ha of land.

According to Vu Trung Tien, vice chairman of Dong Minh commune’s People’s Committee, oysters began to die en mass on August 7. By now, an estimated 70 percent of breeding oysters on 230ha have died, while the rate was 20-30 percent of commercial oysters raised on the remaining over 200 ha.

Total economic loss was estimated at 60 billion VND (nearly 2.6 million USD).

Nam Thinh commune reported a death rate of 70 percent on 30ha of oyster farming, while the rates ranged from 20-30 percent on another 100ha.

According to Tran Minh Tien, vice chairman of Tien Hai district  People’s Committee, there are 1,900ha of oysters raised across aqua farms in the district, of which 1,500ha are in the two communes.

Local farmers also face the problem of collecting the big volume of dead oysters and treating the environment.

The provincial fisheries sub-department has taken samples of dead oysters for test to find the cause of death, said Pham Van Vang, head of Tien Hai Ddistrict's Agriculture Office.

According to him, oysters could have died due to hot weather in recent days and not necessarily due to pollution.

The number of deaths increases every day because households can't collect the dead oysters quickly enough to avoid polluting breeding areas.

The sub-department said households should remove all dead oysters from breeding areas as fast as possible to save the remaining and prepare for the next crop.- VNA