Vietnamese millionaires dine on rare Red Book fish
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese millionaires, ignoring the ban on eating protected fish, are willing to pay tens or hundreds of millions of dong for rare and precious fish listed in the Red Book.

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Many rare fish species are served at millionaires’ parties. 

A huge Asian redtail catfish (Hemibagrus nemurus) with length of 1.5 meters was bought by a restaurant in Hanoi at VND30 million to make dishes for its luxury clients.

A local newspaper commented that sturgeon spawn, fresh salmon and lobster can no longer attract millionaires. They tend to prefer freshwater fishes, including rare and precious ones named in the Red Book. 

Chien catfish (Bagarius bagarius), Asian redtail catfish (Hemibagrus nemurus) and ca anh vu (Semilabeo notabilis) are the fish mostly hunted by millionaires.

All three fish species are named on the list of rare aquatic species at risk of extinction in Vietnam which needs to be protected, restored and developed as per Decision No 82 released in 2008 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Vietnamese millionaires, ignoring the ban on eating protected fish, are willing to pay tens or hundreds of millions of dong for rare and precious fish listed in the Red Book.
Bagarius bagarius and Semilabeo notabilis are listed as ‘VU’ (vulnerable), and Hemibagrus nemurus as ‘EN’ (endangered).

The three species can also be found in Atlas book about rare aquatic species at risk of extinction in Vietnam published by MARD in 2012.

As for Hemibagrus nemurus and Semilabeo notabilis, the book writes that the number of adult fish has been seriously decreasing.

Under MARD’s Circular No 63, the catching of Semilabeo notabilis is prohibited. Meanwhile, under the 2015 Civil Code, the catching of Semilabeo notabilis worth more than VND50 million from the Da River will be subject to criminal prosecution. The violators may be fined VND50-300 million and have 6 month to 3 years of imprisonment.

However, rare and precious fish still are caught to entertain the rich, while no one has been punished by law.

Dr. Le Hung Anh from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources noted that people still catch and slaughter the fish because of their high economic value. 

Meanwhile, though some legal documents name the fishas endangered species, current laws do not clearly stipulate the prohibition of fishing, transportation and trade of these species. 

Anh thinks that state agencies can only give recommendations and launch propaganda campaigns to heighten awareness about the protection of the species which are in danger.

Mai Dinh Yen, former lecturer of the Hanoi National University, pointed out that the catching and trade of many endangered species still continues even though prohibition is clearly stipulated in laws.


Le Van


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