This is the result of a programme conducted by the MARD from May 4-9, 2017 to assess the sea environment in the four central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.
The programme, which was carried out one year after the environmental incident relating to Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company, was based on surveys conducted in 2016.
The monitoring results also revealed that the total phenol and Fe levels are within the permitted limits as regulated in QCVN 10-MT: 2015/BTNMT and much lower than the 2016 observation results.
In order to further monitor and assess the quality of the coastal marine environment, the MARD requested the four provinces to closely coordinate with the ministry in supervising wastewater discharged from the Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Limited Company.
The provinces were also asked to set up an information system and a database, and apply cutting-edge technologies to monitor and give warnings of marine environmental pollution.
However, the MARD’s Directorate of Fisheries warned that local fishermen in the four provinces should not catch seafood living in the seabed within 20 nautical miles from the shore.
The Ministry of Health also took samples of seafood in waters off Hai Phong city in the north, Vung Tau city in the central region and several other areas to check whether fish living in the seabed in the central region is safe or not. The test results will be reported to the Prime Minister and publicized in the coming time.
The Directorate of Fisheries has also instructed fishery inspection forces to team up with local specialised agencies to conduct joint patrols and inspections over fishing activities, and guide local fishermen to abide by regulations on protecting aquatic resources.
According to the Directorate, the compensation for affected fishermen as well as the implementation of policies supporting them are in line with the Government’s guidelines. The process is taking place equally and transparently under the supervision of the public and organisations.
By the end of June, the provinces received VND6.31 trillion (US$277.6 million) in compensation. Of the number, VND5.53 trillion (US$243.3 million) was delivered to the targeted fishermen. The remaining will be distributed to the fishermen as soon as possible.
Besides, each affected household is enabled to borrow VND100 million (US$4,400) to serve their production while those still owing to banks will get extensions for their loans. The locals have also received aids in health insurance and tuition fees.
Of note, in order to help local fishermen shift to new jobs and offshore fishing, the provinces are carrying out a programme to build 400 composite-hulled and wooden vessels with engines of 90 CV-400 CV.
Mass fish deaths were first reported on April 6, 2016 when many fish washed ashore in Ha Tinh province. The incident also occurred in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue provinces.
Wastewater discharged from Formosa polluted more than 200 kilometres of coastline, devastating the marine environment and local economies of those provinces, which largely rely on fishing and tourism.
In June last year, Formosa accepted responsibility for the incident and pledged US$500 million in compensation for affected fishermen, households and organisations.