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Fuel Price Increase Means Fishing Boats Stay Ashore

VIET NAM - The fuel price increase is always a big worry for fishermen. The aquatic resources are getting scarcer, while the fuel price has been escalating, because of which fishermen have to leave fishing boats ashore.

April and May are the high fishing season of the year for the fishermen in Quang Tri, Quang Ngai, Khanh Hoa and Kien Giang. However, unlike previous years, the fishing boats still have been lying still. Fishermen have decided to stay at home instead of going out to the sea, because they anticipate that the fuel price increase would make them take loss, while the fishing output has been decreasing, reports TBKTSG.

Local fishermen said that since late March 2012, as the fuel price has been escalating, the logistics service fees have also been increasing (ice, equipments, fishing tools). As a result, fishermen have to pay much higher than previous for every fishing voyage. Therefore, many of them have decided not to head for the open sea.

Phung Dinh Toan, a Quang Ngai provincial authorities official, has affirmed that the diesel price increase of 1200 dong per liter has led to the higher fishing costs, thus putting big difficulties for fishermen.

Fifty per cent of the 100 fishing boats and coracles at the Cua Viet seaport in Trieu An commune of Trieu Phong district in Quang Ngai stay ashore, because the fishermen take higher loss these days when they go out fishing.

Especially, offshore fishing boats with high capacity meet bigger difficulties than smaller ones, because every voyage usually lasts 10-15 days. While the fishing ground is getting more severe, bigger boats consume more fuel, therefore, bigger boats owners would take bigger losses, estimated at tens of millions of dong.

According to the Ly Son island authorities, there are 410 fishing boats in the whole district, of which 2/3 have the capacity of more than 90 CV capable for offshore fishing. However, 60 fishing boats have been staying ashore. As the fuel price has become overly high, which is affordable for fishermen to take their trips to the open sea.

In An Hai commune of Ly Son district in Quang Ngai province alone, 30 out of the 90 offshore fishing boats have been sitting idle.

The same situation is also occurring in Kien Giang province, the locality with the highest number of fishing boats (12,000) and fishing capacity. Due to the increasingly high input costs, fishermen here would rather stay at home than going fishing to take loss.

Khanh Hoa province is facing the same problem. At the Hon Ro fishing port in Nha Trang City, one of the biggest fishing ports of the province, hundreds of boats, small and big, were seen lying ashore, even though it is now the high season of catching tuna, scad and flying fish (from the third to the eighth months of the Lunar Year). It is because of the overly high costs for fuel which make fishermen unable to arrange enough money for heading for the open sea.

Nguyen Trung Hieu, Deputy Head of the Hon Ro fishing ports management board, said that 20 households have given up fisheries and shifted to other types of business. Some others still keep going out fishing, but they have been operating at a moderate level only, also partially because the exploitation output tends to decrease.

Khanh Hoas fishermen said that the current price storm is even also creepier than the huge waves on the sea.

Lucy Towers

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