Agriculture ministry told to quickly support fishermen

The Saigon Times | Tue, Jul 5, 2016 02:16:18 PM Share this on

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to quickly draw up a plan to aid fishermen to embrace offshore fishing and restore the marine life which was seriously damaged by Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corp.’s harmful industrial waste.

The order comes after the Vietnam affiliate of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group last week admitted responsibility for mass fish deaths along the shores of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue in early April. It pledged to compensate VND11.5 trillion (around US$500 million) for economic damage caused by the serious environmental incident.

At the Government’s web conference held in Hanoi last Friday, Phuc urged the VND11.5-trillion sum be used effectively and transparently. He wanted the plan to be implemented urgently with specific and direct supporting measures for fishermen in the four affected provinces.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh clarified that the compensation money will be firstly used to cover the losses faced by people in the provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will take the central role in the task while the Ministry of Industry and Trade is assigned to join the effort to help other affected sectors, including salt production and tourism.

Deputy Prime Minister Binh reiterated the Prime Minister’s instruction to provide financial support for fishermen to go offshore fishing and rehabilitate the marine environment. Affected people will be backed to change their jobs.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat pledged the supporting plan for fishermen would be made available this month. “We will submit the plan to the Government soon,” Phat said.

Binh underscored the need to review regulations and standards used to supervise enterprises and production facilities that pollute the environment and told relevant agencies to review the process of licensing the Formosa project in Ha Tinh.

Le Minh Hung, governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, said at the meeting that commercial banks have been requested to help assess the losses incurred by fishermen, reschedule loans and write off interest for them, as well as lend to fish traders.

The Government should help fishermen to identify which fishing grounds are safe, Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, told the meeting.

Thua Thien-Hue looks into losses caused by mass fish deaths

Thua Thien-Hue, one of the four central provinces hit by mass fish deaths in early April, has decided to establish a council to evaluate the damage caused by the incident after the Government announced the culprit and cause of the incident last week.

According to Tuoi Tre newspaper, the 16-member council is headed by the province’s vice chairman Nguyen Van Phuong following a decision signed by provincial chairman Nguyen Van Cao. The council is tasked with building plans, assessing damage in all affected fields and proposing measures for revitalizing the marine life.

The council will conduct damage assessments in line with the prevailing laws.

Source: The Saigon Times