March 4, 2004



Vietnam To Export More Tilapia Fish


Vietnam's Ministry of Fisheries is setting an annual production target of 200,000 tonnes of tilapia by 2010, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Hong Minh said.


The ministry hopes to include tilapia on its list of aquaculture exports that have become a cornerstone of the national economy, and includes, tra and basa catfish and tiger prawn.


Though only 15,000-20,000 tonnes of the fish are currently produced the ministry is aiming to export 100,000 tonnes with sales totalling US$160 million by the end of the decade, Minh said.


Minh has targeted the economically depressed Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) as well lowland areas around the Cuu Long (Mekong) and Hong (Red) River deltas, as ideal places for the fish to be reared due to the species' hardiness, immunity to disease and rapid breeding rate.


The ministry said it is developing relations between farmers and processors, transferring new technology to breeders and establishing training centres and workshops to educate farmers.


Current tilapia stocks in Vietnam remain low. There are only ten tilapia fish hatcheries nationwide, supplying somewhere between 20,000 to 3 million hatchlings annually.


As part of the project the ministry will work with research institutes to increase the breed's quality and improve hygiene.


Vietnam plans to import new breeds from Israel, Taiwan, mainland China and the US and co-operate with Thailand, Norway and Britain in technology.

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