Tuna fish catches continue to fall

Monday, Mar 15, 2021 08:32

Most tuna fishing trips in Khanh Hoa Province end up with not more than 15 units of the fish on average, not enough to break even. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Van

After a 20-day trip to sea during Tet (Lunar New Year), most fishing boats in Khanh Hoa Province caught 15 units of tuna fish on average, down by almost half from a year earlier.

Some only managed five-seven units.

Tran Be, a boat captain, said he was lucky enough to break even after catching 26 units, or almost one tonne.

The trips last 18-28 days and cost an average of VND100-150 million (US$4,333-6,500) per boat, meaning 20-30 units of the fish need to be caught to break even.

As a result, only two or three out of 10 trips are profitable despite a surge in tuna prices.

Overexploitation, especially the catching of juvenile fish, has caused a decrease in fishing stocks, according to Vu Van Dap, chairman of the Viet Nam Tuna Association.

The country’s tuna output had declined by 5 per cent last year to 17,000 tonnes.

Nguyen Thi Thu Thanh, director of Ben Vung Seafood Co, Ltd, said companies face a shortage of tuna for processing due to a strong fall in catches, and have no choice but to buy though the price of the fish has surged to US$5 per kilogramme from $3.5 last November.

Amid the pandemic, export orders from the US helped companies maintain production.

The shrinking tuna output has seen authorities restructure exploitation activities and improve product quality to get better prices.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said to sustainably develop the tuna sector, it is important to regulate the number of fishing boats and catch up with other countries in terms of technology instead of focusing too much on quantity. — VNS

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