Vietnam, with a coastline of over 3,260 kilometers (km) and more than 3,000 islands and islets scattered offshore, plus up to 2,860 rivers and estuaries, has been geographically endowed with ideal conditions for the thriving fishery sector which currently exists.

Great potential of fishery sector in Vietnam is embedded in water bodies of 1.700.000 ha in which 811.700 ha freshwater, 635.400 ha brackish waters and 125.700 ha coves and 300.000 - 400.000 ha wetland areas might be employed for aquaculture development.

The Mekong River Delta in the south and the Red River Delta in the north have been used for wild catch fishing as well as extensive fish farming.

Shrimp and pangasius mostly farmed in the Mekong River Delta, in which, shrimp farmes located in coastal provinces such as Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Ben Tre..

Pangasius farming is developing in many provinces in Mekong River Delta such as Can Tho, Vinh Long, Tien Giang, An Giang, Dong Thap, Soc Trang, Hau Giang, Tra Vinh....

Production in the fishery sector grew at an average rate of 7.05% from 1991 to 2000, and 10% from 2001 to now. The country produces annually over 6 million MT of fish, in which its landings reached 2.7 million MT and aquaculture reached 3.3 million MT. In 2015, total fisheries production reached 6.56 million MT, including 3.03 million tons from catching and 3.53 million tons from aquaculture.

Dong Thap catfish farms near annual target

Dong Thap province, the Mekong Delta’s largest tra fish producer, has more than 2,200ha of aquaculture farms breeding the fish and they have produced about 438,000 tonnes so far this year, equivalent to almost the full-year target.

More than 2,000ha of farms breed for export.

Nguyen Van Cong, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province is developing concentrated large-scale tra fish farming areas. 

It is also establishing co-operatives and co-operative teams for tra farmers to ensure they maintain high quality, he said.

It is also fostering cooperation between farmers and processors in all stages from producing fry for breeding, raising the fish and processing them for exports.

About 700ha of farms have received quality certification like VietGAP, GlobalGAP, Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Best Aquaculture Practices.

The province has issued identification numbers to ponds belonging to 349 tra breeders with a total of 1,500ha to ensure traceability for exports.

The province targets production of 455,000 tonnes this year, according to the department.

The province will produce 700 million high-quality tra fish fingerlings a year from now to 2020, meeting 50 percent of local demand, its People’s Committee said.

The number will increase to 1.5 billion in 2021-25, meeting 100 percent of the demand.  

These targets are part of the province’s plan to produce tra fry under a three-tier cooperation project approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last March.

The first tier comprises research institutes and universities that use advanced techniques in choosing breeding pairs, innovate breeding techniques and transfer them to the second tier.

The second tier comprises Government-owned and private tra fry production centres, while the third is made up of establishments that raise the fish until they reach the fingerling stage. 

In 2018-20, the province will select four to five entities from the second tier to produce quality fry.

This will also help trace the origin of tra fry and provide high-quality fry for commercial production.

The province plans to establish four concentrated juvenile tra production areas on a total area of 400ha in Hong Ngu, Chau Thanh and Cao Lanh districts, and Hong Ngu town.

It will invest in infrastructure and use advanced techniques to produce high-quality fry on an industrial scale.

The plan is expected to cost around 146 billion VND (6.3 million USD), with the funds coming from the central and local governments, loans and investments by organisations and breeders.

The province has 68 establishments that produce tra fry and 1,116 others that raise the newborns until they reach the fingerling stage.

The province produces some 1.3 billion tra fry and 1.2 billion fingerlings a year, which it supplies to local breeders and those around the delta.