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.

Ben Tre to expand farming of key aquatic species

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre will invest more than 2.5 trillion VND (107.5 million USD) by 2030 to develop key aquatic species like black tiger shrimp, white-legged shrimp and tra fish, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said of the sum, over 1.89 trillion VND (81.3 million USD) would come from the province’s budget and the remaining from other sources.

Ben Tre plans to expand farming of key aquatic species to 37,000ha and their annual output to 402,870 tonnes by 2030.

The plan envisages farming black tiger shrimp on 22,500ha, white-legged shrimp on 13,500ha and tra fish on 1,000ha by that year.

It aims to increase export of seafood to 200 million USD a year by 2030 from 90 million USD in 2020.

The plan envisages 70 percent of shrimp farming households becoming members of cooperatives or cooperative groups that are part of the value chain to stabilise production and demand.

Lap said to meet the targets the focus would be on infrastructure for aquaculture, improving the quality of broodstock and expanding the use of advanced farming techniques.

The province would expand models that use advanced farming techniques to increase yields and quality, adapt to climate change and protect the environment, he said.

The farming models breed shrimp and tra fish based on good agricultural practices (GAP) standards like VietGAP, globalGAP and organic standards.

The province is soliciting investment in five or six more seafood processing plants, including two to four shrimp processing plants by 3030.

There are 11 plants for processing tra fish and clams for export but none to process shrimp.

Lap said the province would invest in irrigation systems for concentrated shrimp farming areas, especially in the coastal districts of Ba Tri, Binh Dai and Thanh Phu.

These districts have large shrimp – rice and shrimp – forest farming areas.

The provincial People’s Committee has tasked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with safeguarding the environment in concentrated shrimp farming areas. 

It has ordered the department and other agencies to ensure localities develop farming of key aquatic species in accordance with zoning plans and their conditions.

Ben Tre has turned more than 10,000ha of infertile rice fields in places affected by saltwater intrusion into aquaculture areas, orchards growing high-value fruits and areas used for non-farming purposes.

The province is one of the hardest hit in the delta by climate change and rising sea levels.