VietNamNet Bridge – The polluted water of the Dong Nai River has gradually killed the aquatic resources there. Fish cages on the river have gradually disappeared because fish die in masses. Meanwhile, no proper solution has been found to relocate the environment polluting industrial workshops.
Tran Dinh Em, 75, in Bien Hoa City, said that he spent 60 years on catching fishes on the Dong Nai River. Just ten years ago, it was very bustling on the river, with tens of boats spreading nets at the same time early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
“At that time, we caught fish and shrimp in big quantities, and fish and shrimp never got depleted. I caught tens of kilos of fish and shrimp every day, and so were other fishermen. The money I earned from selling fish could feed the whole family,” Em said.
Leaving oars idle, casting off fish nets, putting boats in mothballs
Em said that previously, he just needed to catch a ca lang (Hemibagrus elongatus), a kind of catfish, to earn enough money for the whole week. However, the latest fish he sold was five years ago. No one has caught any more precious fish so far.
According to the Institute of Tropical Biology, besides ca lang, the Dong Nai River still has 17 more precious fishes which are listed in the Red Book as they vary in serious threats. Meanwhile, 300 other fish varieties have also decreased seriously, which has made the aquatic resourced depleted.
“Fishing nowadays only brings loss,” said Nguyen Dinh, a farmer.
According to Dinh, fishermen have to pay 130-170,000 in fuel and fish net repairs for every voyage, not including meals and other expenses. Meanwhile, they can catch 10 kilos of fish at maximum each time. Each kilo of fish costs 20-25,000 dong, and fishermen would feel happy if they do not take loss.
“The water of the Dong Nai River was blue, but it is now so muddy. Fish nets would get damaged just after two weeks of use because of too much rubbish. We will have to give up the job soon,” Em said.
Less than 10 households in the Thong Nhat ward have still been living on fishing, while others have given up the traditional job, according to Nguyen Van Duc, Chair of the Thong Nhat Ward’s People’s Council.
No one wants to breed fish any more
The Cu Lao Pho area, which is somewhere among the Thong Nhat, Hiep Hoa, Tan Mai, Tam Hiep wards of Bien Hoa City, has been well known for the job of breeding fish in cages. However, for the last many months, hundreds of cages here have been left idle. In the past, the area was well known as the big supply source for the east of the southern region. Meanwhile, nowadays, it is well known for the death of fish in masses.
According to the Bien Hoa City Cage Fish Association, several tons of fish have died so far this year, causing the loss of up to several billions of dong.
Earlier in 2011, 40 tons of fish in the cages on Cu Lao Pho area unexpectedly died just overnight. The 70 households in the locality lodged a petition to the local authorities, asking the local authorities to instruct the Tan Mai Paper Plant to compensate for the loss. However, to date, the final decision on the issue has not been made.
Nguyen Huy Tan, a farmer, called the “fish lord” in the area, also reportedly lost half of the number of fish cages he had.
“My family has been breeding fish for the last 20 years, while fishes have been dying over the last four years. More fishes are dying more regularly,” he said.
“Every time when fish die, we burst out crying,” he said.
Tan went on to say that the total bank debt he has incurred has reached 100 million dong, while he cannot earn money to pay debts. Tens of other households in the same area have fallen into the same situation. Some farmers owe 10 million dong to banks, while others 50-70 million dong, or 100 million dong.