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Vietnam forms national panel to identify cause of mass fish deaths

Wednesday, May 04, 2016, 16:07 GMT+7

A national-level council consisting of nearly 100 Vietnamese scientists has been established and tasked with figuring out the reason behind mass fish deaths found in central provinces since early April.

Professor Chau Van Minh, president of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, was appointed head of the newly established “national council of science and technology,” the Ministry of Science and Technology announced on Wednesday

The scientific panel consists of some 100 scientists from over 30 research institutes and universities in Vietnam. They are experts in a wide variety of fields, namely aquaculture, environmental science, geology, marine geophysics, chemistry, mechanics, aerospace technology, petrochemical, and others.

The experts have collected dead bodies of wild and farm-raised fish, seawater samples, sediment, and plankton, as well as statistics on earthquakes, water torrent and temperature, chlorophyll and oil content in the sea, to evaluate all potential causes.

They have also discussed with colleagues from Germany, the United States, and Israel on the situation.

The scientists have ruled out the possibility that the fish died of epidemics, oil spill, temperature shock, or other affects brought about by earth tremors, based on preliminary analysis.

Members of the council are currently focusing on assessing two potential aspects responsible for the fish deaths, which are biological and chemical causes.

Tons of dead fish have washed ashore in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue since April 6, with no official conclusion yet on what caused the environmental disaster.

The livelihood of local residents, especially fishermen, has been directly impacted by the phenomenon, which Vietnamese officials have referred to as unprecedented.

Vietnam has recently invited experts from Germany, the United States, and Israel, to help unravel the incident, who have been evaluating waste water discharged by factories near Vung An beach in Ha Tinh.

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