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Vietnam’s Tuna Fishermen Want Larger Boats To Counter Foreign Vessels Vietnam, August 28, 12

Several fishermen in the central province of Phu Yen have invested in larger and more powerful fishing vessels to be able to go further out at sea and compete with foreign vessels that are infiltrating territorial waters and bullying them of their rightful means of livelihood.

Pham Phong Trong, 44, in Tuy Hoa City of Phu Yen Province has begun building a new vessel since the last one month. Annually he is out at sea for 10-11 months.

Trong told that earlier he went fishing for tuna on an 110CV boat. He and other fishermen mainly operated near Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands from the second to eighth month of every lunar year and near Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands for the remaining months.

His old boat could not stand out at sea for more than one month at a time and was also not sturdy enough to withstand wind gales of 30-38 kilometers an hour.

Once while fishing near Truong Sa Islands, he heard about a tropical depression over the radio. He tried to run his vessel as fast as possible out of the area but could not escape fast enough from the increasing strong winds and waves. Fortunately, all nine fishermen on board reached shore safely, Trong recalled.

Besides, his boat was bullied by foreign vessels several times, which made him decide to sell his old boat for VND500 million (USD 24,000) and with some further borrowing went on to build a 420CV vessel.

The new vessel is expected to launch by the beginning of next month and will be able to bear wind speeds of 62-74 kilometers an hour, Trong said.

So far, Trong has invested VND1.6 billion (USD 77,000) to build the new vessel and an extra VND300 million (USD 14,400) for fishing equipment and communication and positioning devices.

He took a loan at a high interest rate and hopes that the State will consider giving him assistance or support in some way.

Phan Tan My, from Tuy Hoa City, is building a 420CV boat but the total capital he can raise is only VND1 billion (USD 48,000). Now he hopes that the State will provide some assistance or offer policies so he can access bank loans at preferential interest rate.

According to fishermen in Tuy Hoa City, foreign boats have recently begun infringing on Vietnam’s territorial fishing waters. To counter this menace, they want to build high capacity vessels to go fishing further out at sea. However, most of them cannot raise enough capital to do so.

Phan Thuan, chairman of the Fisheries Trade Union in Ward 6 of Tuy Hoa City, said that as seafood resources have depleted near coastal areas, fishermen have to go further out to sea but in this effort are constantly intimidated and bullied by foreign fishing boats.

As a result, the Fisheries Trade Union as well as fishermen in Phu Yen Province have decided they need to build more powerful fishing vessels to be able to continue fishing for their livelihood, he said.