Vietnam says it's now safe to swim at most beaches in four central provinces where massive fish deaths occurred more than four months ago because of toxic chemicals dumped by a Taiwanese steel company.

However, the online newspaper VnExpress quoted Environment Minister Tran Hong Ha as saying it's still unclear whether it's safe to eat fish caught within 20 nautical miles (23 miles, 37 kilometers) off the coast of the four affected provinces.

The unit of the Formosa Plastics Group acknowledged in June that it was responsible for pollution that killed large numbers of fish off the central Vietnamese coast, and pledged to pay $500 million to clean it up and compensate affected people.

The country's worst environmental disaster has devastated the fishing and tourism industries in the region.