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.

Roundtable seeks solutions to aquaculture sector

Developing concentrated aquaculture areas, strengthening linkages among stakeholders, optimising costs, increasing the use of technology, and building brands are among the measures that would add value to the aquaculture sector, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.

Addressing a roundtable in Ho Chi Minh City on November 22, Tran Dinh Luan, Deputy General Director of the Directorate, highlighted the importance of the aquaculture sector in the country’s agricultural production and exports.

Productivity and output have increased significantly in recent years, with output exceeding catches from the sea, he said.

The increase in the use of technology has obviously helped increase aquaculture productivity and output, Vu Duyen Hai from the directorate said.

Demand for aquaculture products is expected to continue increasing in the coming years, especially in developing countries, he said.

The free trade agreements the country has signed will throw up opportunities for Vietnamese firms to increase production and export, he added.

But the sector faces challenges, Hai and other participants said.

Vietnam is among the world’s largest aquaculture producers and exporters, but its costs are high compared to other countries in the region, they said.

Truong Thi Le Khanh, Chairwoman of the Vinh Hoan Co. Ltd., to raise the value of aquaculture products, Vietnam need to improve from the improvement of the product quality from varieties to farming and processing technologies.

She called on businesses and producers to adopt advanced production technologies, automate processing, diversify products and strengthen linkages among stakeholders to cut costs and improve quality.

Besides, enterprises should pay due attention to by-products and invest more in processing to raise the value for the sector.

Truong Dinh Hoe, General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), said the Government should zone areas for aquaculture and processing plants and identify what species to breed with a focus on encouraging closed production models, linkages in production chains and adoption of modern technologies to improve productivity and reduce costs.

Organised by the directorate, VASEP and GIZ, the event was held to discuss the current situation in the aquaculture sector and measures to improve its efficiency and increase investment in it.