Vietnamese coast guard punished for allowing Chinese fish farms

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Illegal fish farms operated by Chinese nationals at Vung Ro Port in Phu Yen Province

A senior coast guard in the central province of Phu Yen has been kicked out of the provincial coast guard Party unit for allowing Chinese nationals to run illegal fish farms at a local port.

The provincial Party unit, which imposed the punishment, also suggested that Vietnam's Coast Guard Command further punish Senior lieutenant colonel Tran Xuan Son, who as of now, remains the head of the Vung Ro Port guard station.

The Party unit said that by letting foreigners engage in illegal activities, Son failed to fulfill his responsibilities of managing the area to which he was assigned, causing a "complicated" predicament for authorities to contend with.

Phu Yen authorities launched an investigation into activities in the port early last June after reports by local media, finding that there were at least 860 floating aquaculture farms, all run by Chinese proprietors, operating illegally.

The port was designated in 2005 as a seaport in which no aquaculture activities would be permitted.

According to authorities, the farms, which earned tens of billions dong per year, have been evading taxes and environmental fees.

They were found importing fish breeds and feed without the knowledge of local authorities, and unlawfully dumping waste into the local environment.

Additionally, the farms employed workers without contracts.

But by the time of the investigation, all the Chinese traders had fled the port.

Authorities in neighboring Khanh Hoa Province, which was reported with the same situation, on the other hand managed to fine and deport seven Chinese nationals.

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Fish farms in Khanh Hoa were based at Cam Ranh Bay, only a couple of hundred meters from Cam Ranh Military Port, which Tran Dinh Nha, deputy chairman of the National Assembly's National Defense and Security Committee, called a "sensitive" area.

He said there should be an investigation to see if the Chinese farmers and traders were operating in Vietnam for purely economic purposes.

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