Young fishermen picks up trash from the sea

This year, he is only 29 years old, but Mr. Cuong is known by many people in Thuan An town, because he is one of the few fishermen who both go to the sea and… pick up trash. Under the blazing sun of the early days of April, we happened to meet Cuong when he had just let his ship of more than 1,000 horsepower docked at Thuan An port to sell seafood to traders after a long sea voyage. Although 12 other fishermen had left the ship, Cuong still moved each plastic bag from the ship to the shore.

Cuong said, with a dream of sticking to the sea since he was young, after graduating from high school, instead of going to colleges and universities like his peers, he went on a boat with his father to go fishing. After many years of sticking to the sea, in 2018, from the capital he saved plus a bank loan, Cuong boldly built a 1,018CV fishing boat, with a total investment of more than 3.5 billion VND. This is one of the few fishing boats with large capacity in Thuan An waters owned by a young fisherman like Cuong.

Young fisherman Tran Van Cuong with his job of picking up trash from the sea.

In addition to fishing, the ship also provides logistics services for fishing vessels with small capacity at sea. “From the first days at sea, witnessing the scene of fishermen directly discharging waste into the sea are used plastic bags, water bottles, beer cans; or plastic waste drifting from the shore to the sea, I immediately thought of picking up that garbage and putting it on the ship to bring ashore. Later, to serve for picking up trash, I made a long racket myself so that I could stand on the side of the ship and pick up bottles and cans drifting on the sea surface. This garbage is then put into bags made from broken fishing nets to bring ashore,” said Mr. Cuong.

And on long sea voyages, Mr. Cuong’s fishing boat goes through all the waters of the country, including the Hoang Sa fishing grounds to both catch seafood and pick up trash, which Cuong jokingly said, that is…” a double job”. Especially, since the People’s Committee of Thua Thien-Hue province launched the “Green Sunday” movement, Thuan An town built the “Green house on the sea” movement to call on fishermen to go to the sea to pick up all kinds of garbage. If recycling can be used to raise funds to help poor students, Cuong and his boatmates are more enthusiastic about picking up trash at sea.

All the plastic waste that Cuong picked up was then given to the Youth Union of Thuan An town to raise funds to help poor and studious students. Cuong shared, Vietnam has tens of thousands of fishermen engaged in fishing at sea, and as long as each fisherman joins hands to pick up trash, or at least has a sense of putting garbage in the right place, not throwing it into the sea. The ocean will be cleaner, contributing to the protection of the ecological environment and marine resources.

Enthusiastic and diligent, Cuong was elected as the Secretary of the Youth Union of Tan Binh Street, concurrently the Chairman of the Club of young fishermen reaching out to sea in Thuan An town, with the participation of nearly 30 fishermen. Not only spreading the act of picking up trash at sea to protect the ocean, the young fisherman’s club led by Cuong also actively mobilizes fishermen in Thuan An town and Phu Thuan and Phu Hai communes, Phu Dien, in Phu Vang district together to preserve and protect the marine environment, install fixed trash cans on fishing boats to limit littering into the sea.

Mr. Hoang Phuoc, Secretary of the Party Committee of Thuan An town, said that with practical and meaningful actions to protect the marine environment, at the end of 2019, Tran Van Cuong was one of 34 typical young farmers in the world. Luong Dinh Cua Award was awarded by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union for being innovative, creative, and applying scientific and technological advances in production and business to get rich righteously.

Then, in March 2020, Mr. Cuong and 2 typical delegation officials of Thua Thien-Hue province were honored to receive the noble Ly Tu Trong award presented by the Central Committee of the Youth Union.