Tons of fish raised in cage farms along the Co Co River in central Da Nang City were found dead on Monday morning, with farm owners pointing the finger at a local water treatment plant.
Hundreds of millions of dong worth of damage has been reported. (VND100 million ≈ US$4,400)
On Monday morning, owners of cage fish farms along the Co Co River in Da Nang’s Khue My Ward, Ngu Hanh Son District, woke to find their fish had died in huge numbers.
Huynh Van Hung, 45, said he had noticed fish from his farms skimming the surface of the water and gasping for air on Sunday evening.
The fish started dying early the next morning and it took only until noon for the majority of the farms’ population to have been wiped out, producing a foul smell over the entire area as their bodies began decomposing, Hung said.
Hung owns five cage farms in the river, each housing around 3,000 red tilapias.
“There are two metric tons of red tilapias in each of my cages that cost me over VND300 million [US$13,200] to raise them to their current size,” Hung said. “Now it’s all gone. How am I supposed to pay off my loans?”
Huynh Van Hung (L) removes dead fish from his cage farms with a skimmer. Photo: Tuoi Tre
At the cage farms of 40-year-old Nguyen Tam Tri, the few surviving fish have been separated, while the dead fish are being sold to a local animal food factory to minimize the damage.
Tri said he had also lost over five tons of fish, translating to a financial loss of over VND160 million ($7,000).
Along Da Nang’s Co Co River are hundreds of cage fish farms owned by 31 households in the neighborhood, who mostly raise red tilapias, rabbit fish, cobias and spotted scats.
According to local farm owners, Monday was the first time in many years they had seen fish die in such large numbers.
A nearby water treatment plant is suspected of dumping wastewater into the river, causing the deaths.
Nguyen Van Tien, head of the Natural Resources and Environment Division of Ngu Hanh Son District, said district officials had accompanied a team of specialists from the provincial Center for Monitoring Environmental Resources to collect water samples from the affected areas.
The samples would undergo lab tests to determine the cause of fish deaths, and results can be expected in a few days, Tien said.
Red tilapias die in droves at the cage farms of Huynh Van Hung in the Co Co River, Da Nang City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Cage-farmed fish die en masse along the Co Co River in Da Nang City. Clip: Tuoi Tre