Vietnamese fishing boats anchor around the marine defense platform DK1 in the East Sea.
Fishermen all along Vietnam's central coast say they're committed to protecting their fishing grounds from rampant encroachments by Chinese boats.
Tran Ta has worked as a fisherman in Phu Yen Province for the past ten years. These days, he says no one goes out alone. Instead, the fishermen travel in groups.
"To survive offshore, our fishermen need to support one another," Ta said.
He said that, despite the challenges posed by Chinese fishing boats, they will "stick to the sea."
"We have the border guards, the navy and others behind us, so there's no need to be afraid," he said. "If we encounter Chinese boats, we'll call related agencies to act to chase them away."
In Binh Dinh Province, 400 of the 700 local fishing boats frequently operate in the waters along the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.
Nguyen Huu Hao, vice director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said these fishermen are determined to oppose China's encroachments.
"They bravely continue to go out and fish in accordance with tradition," Hao said.
In the meantime, central and provincial government agencies have also made plans to guarantee the safety of local fishermen.
Hao said his department has asked the local authorities to educate local fishermen about Vietnam's traditional fishing grounds and sea sovereignty.
The province will also begin distributing satellite communication devices to fisherman who travel far for fishing purposes.
Fishermen who travel in groups of more than three boats have priority in receiving satellite communication devices, he said.
The program is part of a national project to establish an observation system for fishing boats, fishing grounds and fisheries resources, said Mai Kim Chi, chief of Binh Dinh's Department of Aquatic Products Exploitation and Protection.
"We have the border guards, the navy and others behind us, so there's no need to be afraid. If we encounter Chinese boats, we'll call related agencies to act to chase them away."
fisherman in Phu Yen Province
The project was launched in Quy Nhon Town, early this month, and will target 3,000 fishing boats in 28 coastal provinces from now till 2013. Funding was supplied by a US$17 million official development assistance loan from France.
Colonel Nguyen Trong Huyen, chief commander of the Border Guards' Headquarters in Phu Yen, said they have ordered border posts to keep close watch on Chinese boats as well as other foreign vessels that violate the boundaries of Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.
If any thing happens, they will notify Vietnamese fishing boats and border patrols through their communication networks, he said.
During a May conference on the central region's exploitation of ocean resources, Colonel Dinh Gia That, vice chairman of the Navy's political affairs division, proposed various solutions to the security threats along the central coast and islands.
He suggested building up strong forces to manage and protect Vietnam's coastal waters. He also reccomended the acquisition of advanced weapon technologies and launching an effort to involve fishermen in security missions.
Chinese boats have increasingly violated Vietnam's territorial waters, threatening the livelihoods of a number of local fishermen.
Some fishermen have reported that, every day, between 120 and 150 Chinese fishing boats enter Vietnam's territorial waters, from Da Nang to the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago. At times, more than 200 Chinese boats illegally enter Vietnam's fishing grounds.
More than 33,200 Vietnamese boats and some 700,000 fishermen operate within a 1,200 kilometer range, from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan provinces.