Co Tu people help save freshwater fish from extinction

Scientists are working with the Co Tu community on a conservation programme to sustain levels of freshwater fish.

The Nien fish (Onychostoma gerlachi) can be found up-stream in the Cu De River in the suburban Hoa Bac commune of the city.

Chairman of the commune People’s Committee Thai Van Hoai Nam said the project received funding from the United Nations of Development Programme (UNDP) through the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s Small Grants Programme to promote the preservation of culture among Co Tu community and conservation of the Ba Na-Nui Chua nature reserve.

Nam said the project also aims to develop community-based eco-tourism as well as highlighting the craftwork of the Co Tu people.

Dr. Chu Manh Trinh, an expert of conservation from the Cham Island Marine Protected Area, said the conservation of the fish species needs education about the traditional use of fishing tools that had been preserved by the Co Tu community.

He said local people should eliminate over-fishing and electric shock fishing.

Dinh Van Nhu, an official from Gian Bi village, said ethnic Co Tu group do not use electric shock fishing, but only use cross-bow, tridents or nets to catch fish up-stream.

He said electric shock fishing was a method used by people from other areas, which has resulted in a drop in the levels of fish.

Nhu said the species became a favourite food at restaurants in cities, and is the most hunted fish in the river with each kilo of the fish priced up to 300,000 VND (13 USD).

According to a report from local authorities, traditional fishing manner using cross-bow, fishing rod and net occupied 90 percent, and 10 percent was electric shock.

However, the electric shock would lead to a serious reduction of the population, and the fish will be soon extinct.

Villagers of Ta Lang and Gian Bi – 40km west of Da Nang city – still preserve their traditional culture, gong and dance play, language and brocade weaving.

The two villages – which situated in a vast valley between the two nature reserves of Bach Ma in Thua Thien-Hue and Ba Na-Nui Chua began a community-based tourism pilot project from last year.

Source: Vietnam News Agency