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Vietnamese Fishermen Cannot Agree On Tuna Prices

Fishermen in the central region have had a bumper tuna fishing crop. However, they do not feel completely happy because they cannot define the values of the fish.

After a long period of time, fishermen can now see such a bumper fishing crop. Most of fishermen have been eager for going out to the sea for fishing, as the State props up a part of expenses on fuel and insurance. At the same time of the previous years, a series of fishing boats had to stay ashore as fishermen suffered heavy losses with fishing trips.

In Phu Yen province, where the ocean tuna fishing began, the locality, which has the highest output of tuna, fishermen now share information about fishing grounds, while boats inform each other when they discover fish shoals, thus helping each other save money. Fishermen have thought of cooperating with each other more actively and gradually forming powerful offshore fishing groups.

However, in the immediate time, they are still facing a lot of difficulties. Fishermen have to sweat blood and tears to catch fish, but they never can decide the values of the fish. Those, who define the price of fish are merchants, who collect fish for processing workshops.

This always happens that even with a bumper crop, fishermen still make a loss as they have to borrow money to buy fuel at high interest rates, while they have to sell fish at low prices as merchants always try to force the prices down, reasoning that the fish quality has degraded due to the bad preservation. In fact, fishermen do not know how to preserve fish on boats most effectively, and they have no other choice than accepting the low prices set by the merchants.

The problems have existed for years, but no state management agency has come forward and helped settle the problems. Even in Phu Yen province, the locality which has the highest tuna fishing in the country (5,000 tons per annum) and gets the turnover of between VND 200-300 billion a year from the fish, fishermen still have to swim alone. In the last 15 years, since the tuna fishing began in the province, local fishermen have not received any support from the state and local authorities in fishing grounds, markets, processing, and logistics services.

To date, fishermen still have to find the way of going out to the sea and find the places to sell when they return after fishing trips.

A lot of questions, which were posed many years ago, remain unanswered. When will the fishermen be able to receive a profit? When will fishermen get the support to improve their capability of catching fish, preserving, and processing ocean tuna? When will ocean tuna have a strong brand name, so that Vietnamese fishermen can be more self-confident export to the world?