By: Staff / Aquaculture Magazine
According to the Voice of Vietnam news agency, drought and consequential saltwater intrusion in the first three months of 2016 had a devastating impact, destroying thousands of hectares of prime fish farming area.
“More than 11,000 hectares have been lost in Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces alone,” said a representative of the government of Vietnam. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reported that Ca Mau was the most badly affected with over 70% of its farming area damaged, followed by Tra Vinh and Ben Tre provinces with over 30% of their areas destroyed.
“The drought has affected the Mekong Delta region severely,” said Nguyen Do Anh Tuan from MARD. Eight out of the 13 provinces in the region declared a state of disaster due to the prolonged dry spell. Additionally, almost the entire planning area for brackish water shrimp was “hampered” by the salinity brought about by the drought, especially farming areas downstream of the Hau River.
The region’s aquaculture development plan appeared to be in imminent danger of coming apart at the seams, said Mr Tuan. Nonetheless, despite the shortage of usable water, total production of fish (including shrimp and other crustaceans) during March exceeded 441,000 metric tons, a 2.3% increase against last year’s same period. Additionally, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), reports fish exports in the first quarter of 2016 jumped nearly 9% over last year’s corresponding three-month period, to US$1.4 billion, which they consider positive news in light of the toll exacted by the drought.
Processors also faced a shortage of raw materials said Ngon Thanh Linh, general director of the Ca Mau Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers. The processing capacity for Ca Mau Province is large but raw shrimp supplies were hard to come by, meeting only half of the demand. Additional pressures on processors resulted from Chinese processors purchasing raw shrimp. Recently, reports of more frequent rainfall have suggested the region will eventually recover.
Myanmar hatchery aims to exploit untapped opportunity for food and nutrition security
WorldFish has introduced the first breeding program for the high value and popular climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) in Myanmar. It is hoped that the fish will thrive in the shady ‘chan myaung’ or irrigation canals that crisscross the Ayerwaddy Delta, an untapped opportunity for aquaculture say WorldFish researchers.
As part of the LIFT funded MYFC project, researchers established, in consultation with local communities, that climbing perch together with catfish, tilapia and snakehead are high value popular fish that can boost food and nutrition security in the region, but also offer an income to ‘chan myaung’ owners.
The goal of the initial experiment, conducted at a Department of Fisheries owned hatchery, is to discover whether the introduction of bred fish into ‘chan myaung’ is a viable means of fish farming. While ‘chan myaung’ may be already populated to some extent with wild fish, the introduction of fish bred for farming may offer a higher quality and more consistent harvest. Climbing perch can attract market prices more than double that of traditionally farmed rohu. An initial result of the experiment is that half a million climbing perch larvae have been produced, signaling great potential for its introduction to aquaculture in Myanmar.
The MYFC project will provide training to more than 500 farmers on how to farm the different species identified. Manjurul Karim, Program Manager with WorldFish, stated “If the fish can be successfully reared in the ‘chan myaung’ WorldFish will work with the Department of Fisheries and private sector to establish a market for the seed and extend the practice throughout the Ayerwaddy Delta.”
Malaysian Department of Fisheries and WorldFish establish new research committee
The Malaysian Department of Fisheries (DoF) and WorldFish have today signed an agreement establishing the Technical Committee on Research Collaboration to promote the sustainable development of aquaculture and fisheries in Malaysia. The agreement formalizes the existing collaboration between DoF and WorldFish, which began when WorldFish established its headquarters in Penang, Malaysia, in 2000. Currently, there are five projects listed under this collaboration:
• GIFT tilapia production and dissemination in Malaysia
• Socio-economic evaluation of GIFT tilapia related to value chain analysis
• Genetic improvement of red tilapia (molecular approach)
• Improvement of Trawlbase
• Genetic enhancement of giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii)
WorldFish collaborates with DoF at the Jitra Aquaculture Extension Center, in Kedah, Malaysia, to run research activities and to serve as a nucleus breeding center for Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT), the fast-growing strain of tilapia developed by WorldFish. In addition to producing genetically improved families, WorldFish plans to expand research into developing new genetic characteristics, such as disease resistance.
Since 2015, DoF has been upgrading the Jitra center with new facilities and improved bio-security to enable expansion of the GIFT program. The first phase of upgrading involved the development of two stand-alone incubation rooms, one for WorldFish’s research breeding programs and the other for DoF’s own fry production. The department also plans to increase the total ponds for Worldfish genetic research and improve water quality management at the center. In view of this planning, Malaysia has the potential to be a hub for the production of quality tilapia seeds for the country and the region, with the Jitra Station developed as an internationally-recognized center of excellence for GIFT Tilapia.
In return, WorldFish is helping DoF to increase aquaculture production of tilapia in Malaysia. Current tilapia production is 34,500 metric tons; by 2020, DoF aims to increase production to 60,000 metric tons. In 2015, WorldFish provided 13,000 GIFT broodstock fry to DoF, which were used to produce 60 million fry, before distributing to fish farmers for grow out. In January 2016, 15,000 broodstock were provided and another 30,000 will be delivered this year. It is estimated that 9 million fry will be produced and distributed by end of 2016. WorldFish continues to provide technical advice and guidance to assist DoF to achieve its target.
WorldFish also supports DoF with a red tilapia breeding program to provide red tilapia for the local market in Malaysia. Plans are underway to include engagement in fish disease R&D and the potential of domestication of the giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon).