Many farmers have kept cultivating fish in cages along some rivers notorious for mass fish deaths in the central city of Da Nang, although the local government had introduced an aquaculture ban earlier this year.
The central metropolis’ administration began prohibiting fish farming in the Co Co and Han Rivers after fish raised in cages along the waterways died in large numbers in mid-July last year, causing collective losses of billions of dong. (VND1 billion = US$43,000).
The People’s Committee in Ngu Hanh Son District, where the fish deaths happened, later suggested providing financial support to affected farmers.
However, the municipal government rejected this proposal and instead decided to forbid fish farming in the rivers as of January 2018.
Fish farming had first developed in Da Nang in a pilot program along the Co Co and Cam Le Rivers since 2000 but it was discouraged six years later, when authorities required farmers to remove fish cages from the two waterways by 2009.
Now 31 fish cages still exist in the portions of the Co Co and Han Rivers, crossing Ngu Hanh Son District, but they were not included in the original pilot program, a local official said.
At a recent meeting, farmers suggested planning a new area for them to continue keeping fish, but the authorities insisted there are no available places for the activity, according to the same official.
The fish farmers also called for financial help from the local government in having their costly cages dismantled and finding another means of livelihood, the official said, adding that the municipal administration has not taken any action to settle the issue.
Huynh Cu, deputy chairman of the Ngu Hanh Son People’s Committee, said farmers were already aware of the ban and encouraged to do a different job.
“But they have been unwilling to do so because they said they can find no other jobs,” he added.
Cu said that stopping the local fish farming was very difficult since the farmers avoided working with the authorities on multiple occasions.
A resident said it took a long time for the fish to be ready for harvest so farmers can repay large bank loans.
“We only wanted to discuss with the municipal administration the ban and its related problems,” he added.