BackStories » Saigon » After Street Vendors, Fire Safety Hazards, Doan Ngoc Hai Turns His Target to Illegal Fishers

Vice Chairman Doan Ngoc Hai: sidewalk crusader, fire safety protector and now, aquaculture ally.

When Doan Ngoc Hai, vice chairman of the People’s Committee of District 1, submitted his resignation letter in January 2018, it was a shock for both his supporters and critics. However, it’s apparent that you can take sidewalk-clearing duties from a man, but you can’t take a man from his cluttered sidewalk.

After months spent ruminating, Hai decided to rescind his resignation in May. Since then, the stern-looking official could be spotted happily continuing his decluttering campaign on local pavements. Recently, it seems that bringing order to Saigon streets is not enough for Hai as he recently started coming after illicit fishers.

A few days ago, Hai signed a request – directed at the waterborne division of the city’s police department and the inspector agency at the Department of Transport – for more frequent patrols on the Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe Canal to eliminate recreational fishers, Tuoi Tre reports.

The document also urged workers of the Urban Environment Company, who are tasked with cleaning the waterway, to remind residents along the canal not to touch the fish. Violators will be reported to the local police, Hai added.

The presence of freshwater fish in the canal is the result of an ongoing campaign by city authorities and a few private sponsors to improve its water quality and environment. Since the canal’s thorough revamp project was completed in 2012, it hasn’t been the most hospitable habitat for marine life: mass fish deaths were reported in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Nonetheless, local anglers have been taking advantage of Nhieu Loc’s newfound schools of fish. Some even go all out with nets and electrofishing equipment. According to Doan Ngoc Hai’s inspection, these illegal activities happen most often between 2am to 5am, when fishers travel along the canal with small boats or rafts to harvest the marine creatures.

[Photo via Zing]

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