Rising oil prices make fishing trips unaffordable for boat owners

Sunday, Mar 06, 2022 16:13

Fishing boats on the banks of the Ca Ty River in Binh Thuan Province’s Phan Thiet City. Many have stopped going to sea after diesel prices rose to all-time high levels making fishing unprofitable. Photo vnexpress.net

The rise in fuel prices to all-time highs has caused many fishing boats in the provinces of Binh Thuan and Quang Ngai and in the Mekong Delta to stop going out to sea since the longer they sail the more losses they incur.

On March 1, the price of diesel increased to an unprecedented VND20,800 (US$0.91) per litre, 10 per cent up from the end of last year and 70 per cent higher than at the end of 2020.

Hoang Van Thanh, owner of a fishing ship in Binh Thuan’s Phan Thiet City, said at the current prices the cost of a fishing trip would be VND120 million ($5,250), including VND110 million just for fuel.

He would earn nothing from it and in fact likely make a loss, he said.

Tran Thanh, another boat owner in Binh Thuan, said trip requires 5,000 litres of oil, and at VND20,800 instead of VND19,800 for a litre, he has to spend another VND5 million.

Not only ship owners but also fishermen are suffering as a result.

Vo Tan Minh of Quang Ngai Province said since the Lunar New Year holidays in early February he has gone on just once fishing trip because the boat owner does not want to, and he is unable to provide for his family.

The situation is similar in the coastal provinces in the delta where fishing boats earn little or are even losing.

With a coastline of 56km and four large rivers draining into the sea, Soc Trang has nearly 400,000sq.km of fishing grounds and a large number of aquatic species.

It has more than 1,200 boats which catch more than 100,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with Dong Hai District accounting for half the vessels.

Dang Quoc Thuy, a boat owner in Dong Hai’s Ganh Hao Town, said the cost of his latest fishing trip was VND60 million ($2,600) higher than before, VND50 million for fuel and the rest for food and testing his crew for COVID.

He earned nothing from it, he said.

Together with a fall in seafood prices, the increased costs have caused many boat owners to stop fishing.

Tran Trinh Xuan, another boat owner in Ganh Hao, said the fuel costs for a one-month trip by a high-capacity boat have increased by VND40–70 million ($1,760–3,100).

Nearly 70 per cent of boats in Dong Hai District have stopped going to sea, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development. – VNS

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