Southern Vietnam fish catch up 43%, profits stable

HCM CITY (VNS) — Fishermen have managed a bumper catch this year due to the large quantities of fish living in the open ocean and the increased sophistication of fishing boats, the Department of Fisheries and Resources Protection has said.

They caught a total of 1.55 million tonnes of fish in the first nine months, up 4.3 per cent against the same period last year, the department, which is under the Directorate of Fisheries, said.

The southern fishing season from April to September accounted for 1.42 million tonnes.

High-value open-ocean, or pelagic, species like mackerel, scad, pomfret and tuna, have appeared in large numbers this year.

Provinces that accounted for large catches were Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Ba Ria – Vung Tau in the south and Binh Thuan, Binh Dinh, Quang Binh, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa in the central region.

They exceeded their season targets by 12-25 per cent.

But profits are not much higher because of the higher fuel prices and lower fish quality and prices compared to a year ago, according to the department.

It blamed the low quality on the failure to pay attention to preservation of the catch.

The number of accidents at sea went through the roof, rising more than five-fold to 557 from 109 in the same period last year.

They included 143 cases of sinking due to strong winds and waves, nine of running aground, and 318 of engine failure. There were also 37 instances of collision.

They claimed 37 human lives. Another 124 remain missing while 425 were injured.

Fishermen recently began the northern fishing season which will last until March next year.

Speaking at a seminar held in Ba Ria- Vung Tau Province last Saturday, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam, who is also the head of the Directorate of Fisheries, ordered the Department of Fisheries and Resources Protection to encourage fishermen to work in groups.

This would help increase the period they could stay out at sea and they could also save costs by taking turns to bring the catch to shore, he said.

He also urged provinces to persuade fishing boats to go out in groups and to collaborate for fishing and post-fishing activities — like preservation and sales of fish — at sea rather than work individually to increase their profits.

He also called on provinces to help improve the quality of fishermen's catches and find more outlets for selling them.

To ensure a good catch in the northern fishing season, he instructed the Directorate of Fisheries to accurately indicate to fishermen the best fishing grounds.

He said the provinces have to carefully inspect fishing activities at sea to ensure the safety of fishing boats and prevent avoidable losses.

The catch is expected to be around 1.12 million tonnes during the northern season.

The country has a total of 124,411 fishing boats. — VNS

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