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Cause of mass fish deaths still undetermined

Released at: 13:04, 03/06/2016

Cause of mass fish deaths still undetermined

Minister of Information & Communication Truong Minh Tuan. Photo: VGP

Time needed for final conclusion to be reached, says Minister of Information and Communication.

by Minh Tuyet

Scientists have worked hard to identify the cause of the recent mass fish deaths on Vietnam’s north-central and central coast but the investigation involves many agencies and so a conclusion takes time, Minister of Information and Communication Truong Minh Tuan told the government’s monthly press conference on June 2 in Hanoi.

Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung told the media that as soon as the mass fish deaths took place the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers immediately directed ministries and local authorities to identify the cause.

Thirty State agencies were involved in the subsequent investigation and hundreds of Vietnamese and international scientists were also invited to collect information and investigate the case, Mr. Dung said.

The Prime Minister also invited domestic and foreign consultants to review the information.

To address the damage done to citizens, on May 5 the Prime Minister issued a decree providing rice to people affected by the deaths, creating seafood purchasing points, and offering preferential loans to enterprises in the local seafood sector.

Moreover, the Prime Minister assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Health to identify safe sea areas for fishing and aquaculture. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has inspected all projects relating to waste discharge to prevent any further consequences and punish any violations.

Occurrence of mass fish deaths

Mass fish deaths were reported on April 6 in Ky Loi and Ky Ha communes in north-central Ha Tinh province.

From April 10 and May 4 mass fish deaths were also reported in Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, and Quang Tri provinces in the central region.

“Red tide” (an algal bloom) also occurred from April 24 to 26 in Ha Tinh province.

On April 27, Deputy Minister of National Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan told a press conference in Hanoi that red tide and chemical toxins in wastewater had been identified as the two main factors behind the mass fish deaths.

On May 4, red tide appeared in Quang Binh province.

On the same day, the Ministry of Science and Technology established a national science and technology committee to analyze and assess the reasons behind the mass fish deaths.

Directed by the Prime Minister, the committee invited experts from Japan, Germany, France, the US and Israel.

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