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Rushing to hunt ‘terrible’ fish at Tri An hydroelectric dam

DONG NAI – For the second time in a week, Dong Nai people flocked to the foot of Tri An hydroelectric dam to catch “terrible fish” such as oiling, mausoleum, sesame, climbing… when the factory closed the dam to release the flood.

On the afternoon of November 3, Tri An hydropower plant closed the spillway dam after 5 days of flood discharge. This is the second flood release this year before the first one lasted nearly a month when the water level in the lake exceeded the safe level of the dam body.

Like the dam closing six days ago, hundreds of people brought nets, fishing nets, pitchforks… to the base of the dam to catch fish.

In deep water areas, where there are large fish, many people use small boats to fish.

After a while of discussion, Mr. Hien was happy when he caught a 20 kg oil pangasius. “Many people offered to buy back a few million dongs, but I didn’t sell it because it was a fortune,” he said.

“This tilapia has many fins, so you have to be careful when removing it or the net will be torn,” said Hien, from Ma Da commune, Vinh Cuu District.

Many people sit on buoys to pull nets. “My house is near here, so I go down to catch fish every year. Besides giving to my friends, it helps me relieve stress after stressful working days,” said Mr. Thang.

Not daring to go far, the group of young people used a net to pull close to the shore. “We keep taking turns holding the two sides to block the flow, hopefully by the end of the session there will be fish to bring back,” said the young girl in the group.

After more than an hour, many people collect nets and bring them ashore to remove carp, ewes, sesame… and sell them for the same price of 15,000 VND per kg. “This time due to the fast discharge time, the fish downstream have not been able to come up, so not as many as the first time,” said a trader.

Fish is a species that likes to swim upstream because just by opening their mouth, food may have entered the throat, while swimming downstream, they have to spend a lot of effort to chase their prey.

Whenever Tri An hydroelectricity discharges flood, fish from downstream swim upstream, when they hit the dam, they gather here. But if the hydroelectricity discharges floods for many days, the amount of fish will not be much because the fish cannot pass the dam and return downstream.

On both sides of the dam, many people gathered to buy fish. The price of catfish is from 20,000 to 40,000 VND per kg, and the price of sardines is 150,000-200,000 VND.

An 8 kg catfish are sold by traders to people for 300,000 VND.

A foreign tourist came to use a camera to record this fishing scene only 1-2 times a year at Tri An hydropower reservoir.

The man brought the bag of a fish home after a few hours of catching. “I don’t sell this fish, I leave it to my family, relatives, neighbors …”, he said.

Tri An hydropower reservoir is 323 km2 wide, located on Dong Nai river in Dinh Quan and Vinh Cuu districts. In addition to the purpose of generating electricity for the national grid, the project also ensures water for domestic use, agriculture, salt suppression and flood control… for the downstream areas of the river.

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