Around 450 fishing households have been given direct and ongoing insight and sway over the design decisions made in the Thang Long wind farm’s ongoing development, including the inclusion of technologies to promote fish stocks at the site of installation, such as planted reefs. Compensation, in the form of free safety training and equipment and onshore refrigeration and storage units, was also part of the support package.
As part of the Just Transition, and Enterprize Energy’s ongoing commitment to culturally sensitive development, the MoU outlines infrastructural, ecological, and social preparedness to undertake the projects, citing recent purchases of existing offshore oil and gas substations for later use, extensive seabed and environmental impact surveys, and open lines of communication with local fishing families and businesses.
The Thang Long projects will continue to establish Vietnam within the group of leading countries in Asia in the joint offshore wind / hydrogen production field. While this is set to create a breakthrough for Vietnam’s future economy, adjacent parties to these developments must not be left behind in the wider energy transition as their ways of living, occupations, and local environments are impacted.
In surveys of over 400 individuals in the fishing industry of Binh Thuan, 17.6 percent felt local fishing conditions were very good, whilst 6.3 percent felt conditions were bad and very bad. However, 70 percent felt that these conditions had worsened in the last five years. Lack of fish diversity, unregulated or unsustainable fishing practices, and climate change were the most common explanations for this change.
When asked about the benefits of an offshore windfarm, the production of clean energy was viewed as the most significant output. The biggest concern for fishermen regarding the wind farm is the potential disturbances to their fishing activities. Issues around project build quality, pollution, and impact on marine life during construction were also mentioned; though 95.9 percent of fishermen are reported to be willing to assist with the project.
“This MoU is a commitment to continue the constructive relationship built up in advance of our geophysical survey in the Thang Long Survey area, and to ensure future safe and considerate interaction between the offshore wind development and the fishing industry of Binh Thuan Province” said Ian Hatton, Chairman of Enterprize Energy.
Vuong Dinh Hue, Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly, added that as the offshore energy plans of Vietnam’s NPDP8 come to fruition, the transformation of traditional Vietnamese aquaculture is inevitable — and needs to be done right.
“Most of these fishing households are individual operators; families who own a single boat and run a small fishing business” said Mr Dinh Hue. “But they know the water better than anyone, and their insight and continued support is invaluable.”
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