Vietnam: Systematic Research Needed To Find Cause Of Fish Deaths

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HANOI – More systematic and methodical studies are needed to indentify the cause
of recent mass fish deaths in central coastal localities, Vietnam News Agency
(VNA) reported Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan
as saying.

Speaking at a press conference here on Wednesday, Nhan said his ministry has
worked with relevant agencies, sectors and authorities of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh,
Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, where the phenomenon occurred, to make surveys and
investigations in order to determine the exact causes of the situation.

He added that the problem, which has happened in many places in the world, is
a complicated matter that needs time, sometimes years, to solve.

While the issue attracts great attention from the public who want an early
response, the search for the accurate answer must be based on scientific
evidence and methodical research, Nhan said.

Earlier the same day, the MoNRE chaired a meeting with experts from the
Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, domestic and foreign scientific
research agencies, and Professor Yashuwo Fukuyo from Japan’s Tokyo University to
discuss and evaluate results of surveys conducted so far.

According to Nhan, based on reports from ministries, localities and
scientists, the participants came to the conclusion that there are two main
factors that may cause the massive death of fish. One of which is the impacts of
chemical toxics discharged from humankind’ activities on land and at sea, and
the other reason is red tide, which is one type of harmful algal bloom.

“To date, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that activities of
the Formosa company and others projects operating in Ha Tinh province are
related to the fish deaths,” the deputy minister stated, adding that State
management agencies will continue to conduct intensive investigations into the
issue.

He affirmed that Vietnam never accepts exchanging the environment for economic
development. “Economic development must go in tandem with environmental
protection,” Nhan said, stressing that strict punishment will be applied to any
violations in line with Vietnam’s laws on environmental protection.

The deputy minister noted that recorded measurement data and evaluation
conducted by related scientific establishments and State management agencies
showed no marine environment indices surpassing the acceptable levels.

The Ministry of Science and Technology will cooperate closely with domestic
and foreign scientific research agencies to conduct necessary studies of the
incident.

Relevant localities should organise the monitoring of coastal water quality,
thus giving recommendations for tourism activity in the region, he added.

A large number of dead fish along the coast were first discovered in Ky Anh
township, Ha Tinh province on April 6, then spread to Quang Binh, Quang Tri and
Thua Thien-Hue.

Over the past two weeks, it is estimated that some 15 tonnes of natural fish
and two tonnes of farmed fish have died in Ha Tinh province. Meanwhile in Thua
Thien–Hue province, some 30 tonnes of natural fish died and were washed up on
beaches.

On April 24, a dead whale was found on a beach in central Thua Thien-Hue
province.
— BERNAMA

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