February 24, 2004



Dwindling Shrimp Supply In Vietnam Due To Demand Surge


With the rapid spread of bird flu across Vietnam, consumers' diet switch from chicken to shrimps and fish. As a result, fish and shrimp supplies in the Mekong River Delta have fallen drastically on increased demand.


The Ca Mau Fisheries Department said some plants have suffered losses of 30%, as high demand has also increased the price of raw seafood.


Processors predict the shortage will last until July or August, when the poultry industry is expected to resume full production.


Many local farmers are shifting to breeding to make a living.


The An Giang provincial People's Committee plans to provide farmers with information about shrimp farming techniques to help them boost productivity and quality.


Phan Van Danh, Vice President of the An Giang Association of Aquaculture and Processing, said local processing mills are now working at only 50-60% of their capacity.


Since the avian flu outbreak in January, domestic consumption of freshwater fish and shrimp has risen by 35%, especially in Hanoi, HCM City and Can Tho.


Processors said domestic demand has reduced supplies for exports.


Ca Mau, which has 200,000ha of shrimp farm and is the largest producer in the Mekong Delta, has already completed its growing season, and there is no shrimp left.


Huynh Thanh Duoc, Deputy Director of the Viet Hai Seafood Company, which is based in Soc Trang Province, said export contracts have exhausted shrimp resources.


The current drought across the country is also blamed for the dwindling aquaculture area and low productivity.

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