Despite China’s illegal arrest of six Vietnamese fishermen of central Quang Ngai Province and their boat, local fishermen continue their operations in their traditional fishing grounds in Vietnam’s waters, local fisheries authorities said
As witnessed by VnExpress newspaper reporters on Monday, many fishing boats in Duc Pho District were busy preparing for their offshore fishing trips to waters off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago.
Vo Ngoc Thanh, a local fisherman who suffered a loss of VND1.5 billion (US$70,600) after his boat was seized by China in 2012, said, “Those sea areas are where we locals have made a living generation after generation. So why do we have to abandon them? We are determined to keep operating there despite the aggressive acts by Chinese vessels.”
Thanh affirmed that his boat will leave Duc Pho and head for Hoang Sa in a few days to come.
Phan Hien, head of the district’s Pho Thanh Commune Fisheries Society, said the society has nearly 700 fishing boats that are engaged in offshore fishing, of which 520 are operating in the Gulf of Tonkin.
He also said he himself has two fishing boats that are operating at sea.
“In fact, the Chinese arrest of six fishermen and their boat has caused many worries to local fishermen, but they have been determined to hold fast to their traditional fishing ground,” Hien said.
He added that local fishermen wanted the government to intervene so that China releases the detainees and their vessel soon.
According to a report from the Quang Ngai Province Fisheries Society, the Chinese side seized local fishing boat QNg 94912-TS with six fishermen on board when the vessel was operating in an area belonging to Vietnam off Hoang Sa on July 3.
“Never yield to suppression”
Since early May, 16 fishing ships of the province have been attacked by Chinese vessels while the local ships were operating in their fishing grounds in Vietnamese waters, said Pham Truong Tho, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
Despite such assaults, a large number of local fishing ships, including hundreds of vessels in Binh Son District’s Binh Chau Commune, have continued to go fishing in the sea surrounding Hoang Sa, said the commune authorities.
Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Binh Chau Fisheries Society, said at least 20 fishing boats left the commune for Hoang Sa on Monday.
He added that many fishermen whose ships were once attacked by Chinese vessels have continued to stick to their traditional fishing fields.
Binh Chau has 436 fishing boats and 140 of them are operating in the seas of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes, Hung said.
Nguyen Van Quang, a fisherman who was preparing to sail to Hoang Sa again after his ship was assaulted by Chinese vessels, said, “We Binh Chau fishermen will never give way to Chinese vessels. The sea of Hoang Sa is our fishing ground, so we will continue operating there.”
Another fisherman, Mai Van Cuong, of Ly Son Island, whose boat was damaged in an attacked by Chinese vessels off Hoang Sa on July 3, was also preparing to come back to the area.
In a decisive voice, Quang said, “We are determined never to yield to suppression by Chinese vessels.”