Nguyen Ngoc Oai, deputy director of the General Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told a press conference in Hanoi last week that the list of eligible beneficiaries of the program does not comprise seafood enterprises.
On August 29, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh convened a meeting with the ministries of agriculture-rural development and finance and the Government Office to discuss relevant issues. Later, the Government Office announced Binh’s conclusion on lengthening the list of individuals and businesses eligible for the assistance program.
Besides fishermen, the list comprises owners of fishing boats with a capacity of over 90 HP and their employees, owners and workers of seafood cold storage facilities, fish sauce and shrimp paste businesses, and fish and shrimp farms.
The agriculture ministry will show eligible individuals and businesses excluding seafood processing firms how to calculate losses caused by the most serious environmental incident in Vietnam.
More than 100 tons of dead fish was collected along the coast of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces after the steel complex of Formosa Ha Tinh discharged harmful industrial waste into the sea. The Vietnam unit of Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Group took full responsibility for the incident and had completed the US$500 million compensation for economic damage as of last month.
On August 23, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) wrote to the Government, the ministries of agriculture-rural development and industry-trade requesting financial support for seafood processing firms in the four central provinces.
The document said the April mass fish deaths had left serious impact on seafood production and export.
Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of VASEP, said seafood processors are facing a slew of difficulties and State agencies should assess all the losses that seafood firms are suffering.
He said the lack of raw material for processing products for export has made it hard for seafood companies to fulfill their signed contracts while importers are hesitant to clinch new contracts.
The four provinces reported a total of around 3,900 tons of seafood in stock. The Government has told the Ministry of Health to coordinate with relevant ministries and localities to take samples for testing and allow safe products to be consumed. Tainted seafood will be destroyed and its owners will get financial support equivalent to 70% of the value of the discarded volumes.