According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the fishing industry plays a very important role in the development of agriculture. In 2021, Vietnam exploited 3.92 million tons and exported VND3.435 billion worth of seafood products.

The industry brings jobs and income to 600,000 fishermen and 4 million workers in coastal services. The presence of fishing boats on the sea also makes an important contribution to protect the country’s maritime sovereignty.

The continued fuel price increases since December 2021 have had a big impact on production and business activities, and the life and social security of people, including the coastal fishing community and the fishing industry.

As of December 31, 2021, Vietnam had 91,716 fishing boats operating on territorial waters. It is estimated that 330 million liters of fuel a month are needed for fishing activities. Meanwhile, 0.05S diesel, the major fuel for seafood exploitation, has surged by 65 percent (from VND17,579 per liter on December 25, 2021 to VND29.020 on June 20, 2022, or VND11,441 per liter).

With price increases, fishermen have to spend VND3.776 trillion more to ensure normal fishing activities. The expense on fuel accounts for 45-60 percent of input costs.

The fuel price increase has led to  increases of 10-15 percent in the prices of other goods that serve seafood exploitation, causing total input cost to increase by 35-48 percent. But, seafood prices have not increased insignificantly.

Many fishermen therefore don’t go fishing, leaving their boats ashore. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) estimated that 40-55 percent of boats have suspended operation, which has seriously affected the income and social security of the fisherman community as they cannot find suitable jobs on shore.

Many fishing boats worth billions of dong have been left idle for many days. Some boat owners are on the verge of bankruptcy and they cannot pay debts even if they sell their entire fortune. This has also had a negative impact on the seafood supply chain for domestic consumption and export.

The absence of fishing boats on territorial waters has also affected the protection of the nation’s sovereignty over sea and islands.

In late June 2022,  MARD sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) and the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), asking them to urge the Government to support fishing boat crews.

Meanwhile, MOIT has proposed that ministries and local authorities allocate budgets for a fuel price subsidy for fishermen. State money would be spent to offset oil price increases instead of for support of boat crews as proposed by MARD.