Piles of dead fish found on the seabed

Fishermen say the scale of the disaster is even worse than they first feared. Picture courtesy Tuoi Tre.

Fishermen say the scale of the disaster is even worse than they first feared. Picture courtesy Tuoi Tre.

More evidence is emerging of the scale of the environmental damage off the central coast, with experts warning that the impact of the mass fish poisoning could last for many years.

Fishermen have reported finding large piles of dead fish on the seabed many miles off shore.

A fisherman in Quang Binh province, Nguyen Hon, said he had been diving near a coral garden about six nautical miles from the shore when he encountered a thick layer of dead fish on the seabed.

He said the sea was a dark yellow colour although it continued to appear blue on the surface.

Another fisherman in the same area, who identified himself as Nguyen Can, said he was stunned to find that his fishing nets were clean.

He said the nets secured near coral reefs normally become black after a few months use, but that his nets were now much cleaner, adding to suspicion that a discharge of detergent could have caused the disaster.

The agriculture ministry has estimated that 100 tonnes of dead fish have washed up on the beaches of four central provinces.

The figure, however, does not include the fish lying on the sea bed.

Tonnes of fish being cultivated in fish ponds were also killed.

Environmental experts have warned that persistent pollution off the coast could have consequences that will affect succeeding generations.

They say it is essential that officials find out the cause of the mass fish poisoning and take steps to resolve the problem.

One of the two Chinese Vietnamese who was making a sit-in in central Saigon on May 4.

One of the two protesters who was arrested after staging a sit-in in Ho Chi Minh City

There is growing criticism of the lack of information from the government, which has yet to identify the cause of the contamination.

Analysts say the failure to act has led to a crisis of confidence in the government’s ability to respond.

Activists who openly protest against the government’s approach continue to face harassment and arrest.

Two men who staged a sit-in in Ho Chi Minh City to demand more accountability were detained over night.

They complained later that they were beaten during questioning.