The rush to breed shrimp has damaged the environment in nearly all of Vietnam's central coastal provinces, environmentalists have warned.
The movement to develop shrimp hatcheries has become stronger than ever in the coastal communes of Ha Tinh Province. Dozens of hectares of casuarinas forest in coastal areas have been chopped down to clear land for the so-called “clean shrimp hatchery on sand”.
When reporters visited Ky Phuong Commune of Ky Anh District, they saw machines leveling the ground to make room for shrimp ponds next to the coast.
Two months ago, the trees in the land area, which was a casuarinas forest, were felled. Many local residents gathered there trying to protect the trees from being cut. However, they were reportedly moved away by “competent agencies' officers” to create favorable conditions for deforestation.
A man in Ba Dong Hamlet said he was shocked that the local authorities agreed to the deforestation.
“The forest was planted by our fathers and grandfathers many years ago. It has prevented damage from sand and storms and protected the villages. In the past, we would be heavily punished even if we cut one tree branch,” he said.
Le Manh Ha, head of Ba Dong Hamlet, said the forest was cleared to make room for the shrimp hatchery program implementation.
“Local people do not know about the program. I asked the district's authorities, and I was told that the provincial authorities approved and gave instructions for the project,” Ha said.
“The 200 households living in Ba Dong Hamlet now live in tremendous fear that their houses will be swept away in the stormy season, because they are not protected by the forest any more,” he added.
Lao Dong reporters found that the deforestation for the site clearance for the shrimp hatchery program was implemented after the Ha Tinh provincial authorities released Document No 1131 on March 21, allowing the Grobest Vietnam Company to survey the field to learn about the feasibility of a shrimp hatchery project in Ky Phuong Commune.
On April 10, the Chair of the Ha Tinh provincial People's Committee Vo Kim Cu signed Document No 1390 allowing an adjustment of part of the program on using land in Vung Ang Economic Zone.
With the adjustment, the 40 hectares of land in Ba Dong Hamlet will be turned into land for Grobest Vietnam's aquaculture.
On May 9, the Ha Tinh provincial Economic Zone Management Board released a dispatch showing the site for Grobest Vietnam's shrimp farming project.
After a number of documents were issued, the casuarinas forest was destroyed.
In the latest news, on August 6, when the Ha Tinh provincial environment sub-department's group of officials visited the site, they saw 10 cubic meters of wood on the ground.
Pham Van Binh, an official of the sub-department, said he had asked the representative of Grobest Vietnam to show necessary documents, but no documents were presented.
vung ang economic zone, ha tinh province, le manh ha, vo kim cu, on the ground, central coastal, coastal provinces, ha tinh, coastal areas, to make, two months, local authorities, site clearance, vung ang, economic zone
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