Gimme kills shrimp, fish and human

VietNamNet Bridge – The insecticides with high toxicity have been used by many farmers to catch shrimp, fish and wildlife. By doing this, they have been destroying their living environment themselves--thus harming their health.

ALTACH 5EC, VIFURAN, the pesticides with high toxicity, and even FASTAC 5EC, FURADAN, which have been prohibited by competent agencies, have been sold well in Mekong Delta, where farmers here have “invented” a new method to catch fish, shrimp and animals using the chemicals.

A bottle of pesticide is enough for a section of river

Truong An commune in Vinh Long province has been well known for using pesticides to catch aquatic creatures.

It took reporters a couple of weeks to make acquaintance with the local boys, who were spraying pesticide at the Tan Nhon Bridge.

“ALTACH 5EC just can be used to catch shrimp, lobsters and some small fish near the shore. If you want to catch birds, storks or eels, you need VIFURAN. All animals would be killed if they eat this chemical,” one of the boy explained.

Just five minutes after the boys sprayed the pesticide to the river, shrimp began floating on the surface of the river. The boys then went picking up the dead shrimp and fish with paddles.

A section of river, about one kilometer in length, then was full of dead shrimp and fish, which allowed the boy to have a “bountiful crop.”

Later in the afternoon, the boys mixed the powder chemicals with bran and crushed fish to create bait to trap birds, storks and eels. The experienced boys went on the canal side, looking carefully at the water surface. Sometimes they casted the bait into the places they thought there would be big fish.

The boys would return to the places early the next morning to pick up birds and eels that ate the bait and died, and brought them to the markets for sale.

The boys caught four kilos of shrimp, 5-6 kilos or snakes, fish and crabs in the afternoon, which, according to a boy, was “enough for some drink.”

Poisoned seafood provided to people

The boys call the shrimp and fish they caught the “gifts from the God” and then brought the gifts to the market for sale. Here the poisoned shrimp were introduced to buyers as “the products from the wild,” selling at sky high prices. Big shrimp can be sold at up to 200,000 dong per kilo, small shrimp at 150,000 dong, while fish and snakes 100,000 dong, which are really the big sums of money for farmers. Consumers, especially urban dwellers, now prefer seafood to pork. Therefore, they accept to pay high for the products, thus bringing fat profits to farmers.

The high profits have prompted people to follow the “new fishing technology.” Consumers believe that they eat safe products from the wild, and cannot imagine that they pay money for poisoned food.

However, the farmers themselves would suffer from their activities. Since the pesticide has high toxicity, it would damage the ecosystem. Bui Van Mum, a farmer who tends ducks in Truong An commune, complained that 30 his ducks have died because they ate the pesticide.

Experts have called on local authorities to take actions to prevent farmers from catching fish with pesticide, warning that this would damage the environment.

Meanwhile, the pesticide products still have been available on the market. Especially, they are very cheap: a FASTAC 5EC bottle used to catch shrimp and a box of VIFURAN (one kilo) were priced at 38,000 dong in total.

Compiled by Thu Uyen