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In central Vietnam, deep sea fish found in shallow water amid mass death fears

Thursday, April 28, 2016, 17:08 GMT+7

Several fish whose common habitats are situated in deep sea levels have been spotted near coastal areas in Thua Thien-Hue Province, the latest in a series of oceanic environment issues recently emerging in central Vietnam.

The fish, which usually live some 15 to 20 meters under the sea surface, have been found swimming near the coastline in the past three days, fishermen in Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc District, affirmed on Thursday morning.

The incident first occurred on Monday as the fishermen spotted several types of deep sea creatures, including stingrays and goatfish, in the water about three to four meters below the surface.

With the aquatic animals still alive, local fishermen have tried to catch them for food, believing they are not contaminated, thus edible, said Tran Luy, a 46-year-old fisherman in Loc Vinh.

The fisherman said they normally catch some 15 to 20 kilograms of these types of fish after several days of offshore fishing.

“Since the incident happened, I have been able to gather hundreds of kilograms of the fish within only two days,” he added.


Nguyen Van Chuong (in blue) and his friend are seen wrapping their fishing nets. Photo: Tuoi Tre

However, the high-quality deep sea fish have not been sold at a high price as people are still worried that they might get poisoned eating them, amid the unexplained mass fish deaths in several central provinces.

A kilogram of such aquatic products currently sells between VND20,000 (US$0.9) and VND30,000 ($1.35), compared to the normal rate of about VND100,000 ($4.48), said Nguyen Thi Hoa, a local fish seller.

Some 350 households in Vinh Loc, solely earning their living by catching fish, have been severely affected by the mysterious fish deaths.

The phenomenon does not appear to end as local fishermen still spotted several bodies of dead fishes in the sea on Wednesday, sending fishermen to retrieve all of their offshore fishing nets.

“Since the fish mysteriously died, I only left a few fishing nets on the sea to wait until the situation passed,” said Nguyen Van Chuong, a local fisherman.

“Now that the fish keep on dying, I decided to bring back all of the nets.”

Tons of farm-raised and wild fish in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue have died since early April, with authorities failing to identify the exact cause so far.  

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