Taiwan Company Suspected Responsible for Mass Fish Deaths in Vietnam

Taiwan Company Suspected Responsible for Mass Fish Deaths in Vietnam

Compiled and translated by Shin-wei Chang

As millions of fish washed ashore on beaches in Vietnam, a statement from the Taiwanese company suspected to be at fault has enflamed the situation.

Massive numbers of dead fish have been found along the coast of central Vietnam, including provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.

The suspected cause is waste water produced by Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation in the nearby Vung Ang Economic Zone. The company, which is owned by Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics, says its processes meet Vietnamese standards.

On April 25, Chou Chun-fan, public relations director of the Ha Tinh plant, said the Vietnamese should make a choice between steel plants and catching fish.

He was quoted as saying, “Fish or factory, choose one!

The statement prompted some Vietnamese to launch campaigns urging the public to pay attention to the issue.

People took to social media to post comments and images with the hashtag ‪#‎tôichọncá‬, meaning “I choose fish," to oppose the Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group.


One group launched a petition to the White House on April 26, gaining more than 10,000 signatures within a day.

On April 26, the Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation held a press conference and apologized for the earlier comments. However, demonstrations are planned for the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this weekend.

Cause remains unclear

Although the Formosa Plastic Group has been accused of being at fault, it says its sewage treatment system and procedures meet Vietnam’s national standards.

Vo Tuan Nhan, deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment, says Formosa’s waste treatment system is legal, and the waste water is examined before being dumped into the ocean.

However, Duong Hoang Tung, an official from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, says it has not issued a license for the Formosa plant to dump waste water into the sea.

Reactions from Taiwanese netizens

Both Vietnamese and Taiwanese netizens have condemned the deed of polluting the ocean. On Ptt, most Taiwanese netizens appear to feel ashamed for those polluting other countries. Others praise how Vietnamese fight for their environment and how they hold the Taiwanese company owners to account.

Edited by Edward White

Apple Daily
Apple Daily
The News Lens
The White House petition
Tuổi Trẻ Online
“Formosa Plastics suspected of toxic leak in Vietnam" (Nikkei)
“Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths" (The Guardian)