The Mekong Delta Sustainable Aquaculture Development Project set in motion

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Since the approval of the Mekong Delta Sustainable Aquaculture Development Project by Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last August, a series of initiatives have been launched through which the area will seek to exceed 990,000 hectares of aquaculture area by 2030. The intention is to reach a production of more than 4,800,000 tons.

In that sense, the Ministry has set out a number of tasks and solutions for investment in building infrastructure systems for aquaculture development to adapt to climate change; developing the system of production and supply of seeds and materials for aquaculture; environmental protection and climate change adaptation; production organization and management; science and technology, fishery extension, and human resource training; and trade promotion of aquaculture.

In order to the set in motion Development Project, the total aquaculture production area will be divided between saltwater and brackish water culture with 740,000 hectares, freshwater culture with 150,000 hectares and 1,260,000 cubic meters of cage culture in rivers.

The overall objective of the Project is to develop aquaculture in the Mekong Delta in a sustainable manner, becoming an important contributor to the growth of the agricultural sector and regional socioeconomic development.

In terms of the area allocated to the different species, the Vietnamese Government reported that brackish water shrimp reached 720,000 hectares; Tra fish reached 7,447 hectares; giant freshwater shrimp reached 50,000 hectares; tilapia reached 6,350 hectares and 1,260,000 m3 of cages.

Aquaculture production reached over 4,800,000 tons. In which, brackish water shrimp reached over 1,200,000 tons; Tra fish reached about 2,000,000 tons; giant freshwater shrimp reached over 80,000 tons; tilapia over 175,000 tons; mollusks reached over 250,000 tons and other aquatic species beyond 1,100,000 tons.

Key tasks and solutions

In order to achieve the goals, the Ministry has set out a number of key tasks and solutions as the related to freshwater aquaculture areas. The firstone is the related to riverside and flooded low-lying areas of An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An provinces develop tra fish farming towards modernity associated with environmental protection.

Develop specialized farming, intercropping freshwater aquatic species with agricultural production, raising fish in cages on rivers and canals. Develop a freshwater aquatic product production system in Dong Thap and An Giang, with a focus on tra fish.

A second is that priority should be given to developing specialized farming of freshwater objects or farming in combination with agriculture production in areas with a brief salinity period of less than three months per year.

Some districts/towns in 11 provinces/cities, except in An Giang and Ca Mau, need to develop specialized aquaculture, intercropping with freshwater aquatic species; prioritize the development of aquaculture of aquatic species with wide salinity adaptability, such as giant freshwater shrimp, tilapia, goby, and others, in areas bordering on salty and sweet.

Brackish aquaculture areas (Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Kien Giang provinces) will be focus on the development of brackish aquaculture, including black tiger and whiteleg shrimp, crabs, mollusks, and other brackish aquatic species.

At the same time, review, assess, and convert the saline-affected agricultural land area to aquaculture using appropriate farming methods such as specialized farming, intercropping, rotation, etc.

In the other hand, the brackish water shrimp (black tiger shrimp, whiteleg shrimp), will develop ecological black tiger shrimp farming in mangroves, organic farming, and rice-shrimp farming in coastal areas, in accordance with the master plan of using land in locality, adapting to climate change, sea level rise and saline intrusion.

To boost farmed shrimp productivity, innovative techniques, research, and technology, as well as good environmental management and disease control, are prioritized.

Other point is to develop whiteleg shrimp farming in the direction of industry, applying high technology to improve productivity, quality, product value and protect the ecological environment.

In reference to the tra fish the efforts will go to concentrate on developing industrial tra fish farming along the Tien and Hau rivers, as well as other places with ideal conditions for producing high-quality products that meet export market standards.

To maintain the environment, avoid diseases, and adapt to climate change, use innovative farming equipment, save water, and save fuel. To satisfy the demands of import markets, increase the percentage of farming land and products certified according to GAP, ASC, BAP, and other quality standards.

Also will be efforts to build and develop organic and ecological giant freshwater shirm farming in association with quality certification in key shrimp farming areas, as well as to raise crabs in the direction of specialized farming, in combination with shrimp and mollusks farming, etc. in order to create large, high-value, export-oriented products.

In the tilapia area the target will be developing cage culture in rivers and brackish ponds to become a key tilapia production area of the country; establish concentrated tilapia farming areas in brackish water areas in the form of specialized farming, intercropping, or a combination of brackish water shrimp (Ben Tre, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau, Kien Giang), producing high-quality, large-volume raw materials for export processing and partly for domestic consumption.

To create concentrated tilapia farming applying advanced technology and certification to increase productivity, output, quality, and product value while producing a significant volume of exportable products.

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