Saving the fish

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Two men (L) fish at the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal in Ho Chi Minh City. Once notorious for its pollution, a revival project has seen its waters turn from black to green over several months prompting the release of large numbers of fish into it. However, this has seen many residents fish regularly at the canal, prompting fears the recent gains in cleaning up the canal could be reversed.   

Many Ho Chi Minh City residents have criticized the fishing boom on the recently revived Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal and called for strict action to prevent further damage to the local living environment.

Nguyen Van Tam, who works at a coffee shop on Truong Sa Street, which runs along the canal in District 3, said several dozens to hundreds of kilograms of fish was being caught every day, not only with fishing rods but also with nets and the use of electricity.   

"The canal has just recovered and fish begun to breed, but humans are joining hands to eliminate them," he said.

Tran Tuyen, a District 3 resident, said fishing in the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal was a form of "negative entertainment" since people are killing fish that are adapting to a new living environment just to "satisfy their own pleasure."

Tran Thanh Binh, chairman of the Ward 9 People's Committee in District 3, said he did not support fishing in the canal. He said city authorities should control the fishing to preserve the beauty of the city and ensure sustainable development of the canal. Strict measures must be taken against violators, he said.

Buddhist monk Thich Quang Minh, deputy head of the Phap Hoa Pagoda in District 3, said that there should be a restriction or even a ban on fishing at the canal into which fish have been released. 

The project to clean the canal, which flows through seven districts 1, 3, 10, Binh Thanh, Go Vap, Phu Nhuan and Tan Binh began in 1993 and full recovery of the heavily polluted waterway is expected this year.

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