Whether or not fish from Vietnam’s central coast is safe to eat will be answered by authorities at the end of this month, an official from the Ministry of Health has said.
A scientific council has been convened and is expected to announce its findings on the quality of seafood caught in the central provinces by the end of August, Tran Viet Nga, deputy head of the Agency of Food Safety under the Ministry of Health, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
A huge number of dead fish washed ashore in the central provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue throughout April.
By late June, it had been concluded that following a series of examinations by local and international scientists, that wastewater from the Vietnamese steel-making subsidiary of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group, was responsible for the environmental disaster.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment concluded at a conference on Monday that most, but not all of the central waters are now safe for swimming and fishing activities.
However, the overall edibility of seafood from the region remains unclear, with local fishermen concerned for their livelihoods.
Tran Viet Nga, deputy head of the Agency of Food Safety under the Ministry of Health. Photo: Tuoi Tre
According to Nga, over 430 seafood samples have been taken from fish farms and markets across the four effected provinces since the phenomenon, with results indicating that they contained a high amount of heavy metal.
The amount of toxins have been decreasing, the official said, explaining that one out of every 18 samples had been infected with high Cadmium content as of this month.
Results of the examination were then submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, in order to support its investigation, Nga continued, while adding that local residents had been advised not to consume the seafood as of yet.
Regarding the slow response to investigating fish quality in the region, the official said that the Ministry of Health had been collecting random samples along the central coastline.
“We are monitoring the situation and will announce our final conclusion as soon as possible,” she said.