The Vietnamese Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kien Giang targets an average annual growth rate of 24 per cent for marine aquaculture from now to 2030.
With a coastline of more than 200km and many large and small islands, Kien Giang has the largest number of floating cages for breeding marine aquatic species in the delta.
The province – which borders Takeo province’s Kiri Vong district and Kampot province’s Banteay Meas and Kampong Trach districts in Cambodia – aims for an annual output of 113,530 tonnes for marine fish and other aquatic species by 2025 and 207,190 tonnes by 2030.
The province targets having 7,500 floating aquaculture cages on a total of 7,000ha by 2025 and 14,000 floating cages on a total of 16,000ha of sea surface by 2030.
The province also plans to breed pearl oysters on 200ha and bivalve molluscs on a total area of 25,000ha by 2030. To meet the targets, the province needs 12.7 trillion dong ($550 million) for marine aquaculture in the 2021-2030 period. The investment money will be come from central and local budgets and marine aquaculture breeders.
The province will also provide farmers breeding techniques and help near-shore fishermen switch to breeding marine fish to reduce overfishing in the area.
Marine fish like groupers, cobia, sea bass, lobsters, mantis shrimp, blue swimmer crabs and pearl oysters will be bred on islands in Phu Quoc city, Kien Hai district, Ha Tien city’s Tien Hai commune and Kien Luong district’s Son Hai and Hon Nghe communes.
Coastal areas in Ha Tien city and the districts of Kien Luong, Hon Dat, An Minh and An Bien will breed bivalve molluscs like blood cockles, green mussels and ark clams.
The province plans to develop its marine aquaculture sustainably on an industrial scale to serve domestic consumption and exports, and create linkages among stakeholders to improve production value.
It has encouraged large-scale marine aquaculture companies to invest in high-tech marine aquaculture. In recent years, several companies have invested in the breeding of marine fish, such as floating cages used with Norwegian techniques.
Kien Giang has about 4,500 floating cages on the sea for marine aquatic species breeding, mostly near islands, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In Kien Hai Island district, farmers who breed grouper, cobia and other marine fish species in floating cages in An Son, Nam Du and Lai Son communes earn a profit of hundreds of millions of dong a year. Marine fish are bred in floating rafts that often have four-to-six fish cages each.
Nguyen Van Nam, who has eight floating fish cages in Kien Hai’s Lai Son commune, said farmers can earn a profit of 50 million dong (with profit margin 100 per cent) for an 18-month fish crop in a floating fish cage.
In Lai Son, more than 100 households breed marine fish in about 700 floating cages, with an annual output of more than 1,000 tonnes. The commune has the highest density of floating cages in Kien Giang.
Lai Son, An Son and Nam Du communes have offered breeding training for farmers and regularly provide them with information about weather and diseases. Local authorities and farmer associations have supported farmers with soft loans and breeding techniques.
The Hon Nghe Commune Farmers Association in Kien Luong district, for example, has encouraged households that have financial capacity to invest in breeding marine fish and join with other less financially capable households and share the profits.
The model, begun in 2016, has worked effectively, according to the association. Less financially capable households have earned a profit of 250-300 million dong a year.
The association has worked with the province’s Fund for Support Farmers to provide soft loans worth a total of 1.3 billion dong to 46 marine-fish breeding households in Hon Nghe since 2016.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK