Aquaculturists sue seafood processors as waste discharge kills fish en masse

By Nguyen Long, Thanh Nien News

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Farmers collect dead fish in a farm along a river in Vung Tau in September 2015. Photo: Nguyen Long/Thanh Nien Farmers collect dead fish in a farm along a river in Vung Tau in September 2015. Photo: Nguyen Long/Thanh Nien

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Many families in the southern beach town of Vung Tau are filing a class action lawsuit against seafood processors for causing their fish farms losses worth nearly US$800,000 by discharging waste.
Lawyers will sue 14 seafood processors on behalf of 33 families for dumping their waste into the Cha Va River.
Tons of fish died on farms on the river between September 6 and 14 last year, and the losses have been estimated at more than VND17 billion ($770,000).
Officials from the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources tested samples from the river last year and concluded that untreated waste from the processing units was the culprit.
Le Bien Phong, a lawyer, said the farmers have a high chance of winning.
“The polluting act by the businesses has been proven and there are consequences.”
The lawyers said they have agreed to get paid 5 percent of the compensation only after the farmers get the money.
Many farmers held protests last year, taking dead fish to a seafood processor and to the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province government office.
Le Van Thuan, the farmer who suffered the biggest loss -- VND3 billion -- told news website Zing, “I need [the money] to pay my debts.”
Meanwhile, in the central province of Thanh Hoa, authorities are still investigating what killed more than 17 tons of fish on farms along the Buoi River since last week.
Preliminary evidence points to waste discharged by the Hoa Binh Sugar Company in Hoa Binh Province in the river’s upstream.

 

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