Large flocks of birds were observed in early October heading to the reeds and grasses of the An Phu district dam to feed.
West of the river, Quang Nam province authorities have planted thousands of mangrove trees among water hyacinths and other aquatic plants, making it a prime environment for fish, shellfish and birds.
Hunters use nets to trap birds here, although a ban is in effect.
They plant three-meter bamboo sticks in the middle of the mangrove and rope nets stretch more than 200 m between them.
They are difficult for birds to detect due to their thin strands.
Poachers use boats to set the nets in the swampy area.
“Birds are usually trapped in the dark,” said a resident.
“The more they struggle, the tighter the nets become around their legs, wings and heads.”
Hundreds of meters of nets are also stretched behind the headquarters of the Quang Nam Economic and Industrial Zone Management Committee, in the An Phu district.
Every morning, hunters leave by boat to capture the trapped birds and sell them to restaurants.
Residents have complained in vain about poaching for months.
Nguyen Cao Tri, vice-president of An Phu district, said poaching only started recently and is sometimes carried out by “some people”.
District authorities foiled two cases of poaching using nets and seized dozens of meters of nets each time, he said.
“We seized the nets, but we couldn’t find the offenders to deal with them.”
A duck is caught in a net on the Dam River in Tam Ky Town, Quang Nam. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Nguyen Minh Nam, vice president of Tam Ky, said the city has been asking local authorities for several years to advocate for people not to hunt birds and to crack down on poaching to protect the Dam River ecosystem, but that the hunt continued.
The city plans to turn him over to police, he said.
In August, Le Tri Thanh, vice president of Quang Nam province, issued a directive to better manage and protect wildlife, recognizing the poaching of wild and migratory birds using nets.
The dam here has an average depth of around 1.6 m and has a basin of 650 ha.
Tam Ky City allocated VND8.9 billion ($364,008) to plant several native tree species over an area of 22 ha to restore the river’s ecosystem.
A survey by researchers from the Vietnam National Museum of Nature found that the river attracts 31 species of birds, including the endangered Asian openbill.
There are also 33 species of fish and 16 species of reptiles and amphibians in and around the river.
In Tam Ky’s urban plans until 2030, the river plays an important role in the development of the ecosystem and tourism.
The city has asked the Quang Nam administration to invest VND118 billion in infrastructure to develop ecotourism by 2024.
He also asked the province to consider building a biodiversity museum and creating a wetland and biodiversity conservation area along the river.