Deep-sea fishing banned in Formosa spill area

Fishermen from the central provinces, which saw the Formosa spill, have been warned not to catch species living in the deepest levels of the ocean for 20 nautical miles offshore.

Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình issued this advisory on Wednesday during a meeting with related agencies to discuss the environmental disaster caused by the toxic spill from Taiwanese company Hưng Nghiệp Formosa’s steel plant in the central province of Hà Tĩnh in April last year.

Bình said fishermen from Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế provinces, all affected by the spill, should wait until the Ministry of Health releases a final post-test confirmation that the fish in the deepest regions of the ocean are safe for consumption. This fish population at this level needs more time to recover from the toxic spill, he added.

The soft ban by the Government is considered a good move to protect local fishermen from further losses. The past year has been a struggle for fishermen from the central provinces as they have not been able to sell their fish.

At the same time, the Deputy PM’s statement is a warning for seafood consumers from consuming certain kinds of fish that are found in the deep waters.

Bình has ordered the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to conduct awareness sessions on the safety of ocean water and seafood in the affected areas.

At the meeting, the minister asked authorities of the four provinces to speed up the distribution of the disaster compensation package, which they have received from the Government, to affected people and complete it by the end of June.

Authorities have to work harder to submit data on the number of affected locals to the Ministry of Finance for the next installment of compensation. This is the final chance to submit the additional list of locals whose livelihoods have been affected by the disaster.


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