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Reason behind mass fish deaths in Vietnam to be announced this month: minister

Friday, June 03, 2016, 14:23 GMT+7

The reason behind the mysterious fish deaths that affected provinces in central Vietnam last month will be revealed this month, according to Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan.

Several questions surrounding the mass fish kill were posed by the local press at a regular media meeting organized on Thursday afternoon following the monthly working session of the Vietnamese government.

A large number of dead fish were found washed ashore in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue in early April.

Fish continued to be found dead in May, with the exact cause remaining unexplained.

Responding to the questions about the government’s actions in dealing with the incident, Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the Office of the Government, stated that the prime minister has directed competent authorities and localities to carry out the inspection.

Over 30 state and local agencies have been assigned to collect samples while hundreds of domestic and foreign experts have joined the examination in order to figure out the real cause based on scientific, objective, and legal foundations, Dung continued.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had stated that those individuals and organizations responsible would be punished without any exception in accordance with the law.

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Mai Tien Dung, chairman of the Office of the Government (standing) and Minster of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan (L, 2nd) are seen at the press conference on June 2, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre 

The chairman affirmed that the cause has been identified, adding that it was being questioned by experts in order to ensure it was based on scientific, legal and objective grounds before a final conclusion is confirmed.

He said that the premier had applied several measures to temporarily deal with the consequences, including providing rice for and buying the seafood of the affected fishers.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was assigned to coordinate with the Ministry of Health to survey and pinpoint the maritime areas that are safe for aquaculture operations, according to the chairman.

Meanwhile, Minster of Information and Communications Tuan said that he understood that people are eager to know the reason behind the phenomenon but the conclusion must be countered and agreed upon by all scientists before any announcement.

He added that any small mistake could lead to immeasurable consequences.

The minister expressed his expectations that the cause of the mass fish deaths will be announced sometime in June.

Regarding the recent deaths of farm-raised fish due to factory wastewater in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and some others, the prime minster has ordered severe punishments upon violators, according to Chairman Dung.

The head of government also requested the inspection of all factories and facilities to ensure their wastewater treatment meets all requirements.

Those organizations that do not comply with the law on environmental protection will be sternly penalized, the official stated.

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