October 11, 2022
Vietnam aims to accelerate shift from catch-based fisheries to aquaculture
The Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries (VDF) is aiming to speed up the transition from catch-based to farm-based practises to enhance fishery value chains, and to implement the government's plan to develop marine aquaculture by 2030 with a vision to 2045, Vietnam Plus reported.
According to the plan, marine aquaculture would have 300,000ha of land and 12 million square metres of cages by 2030, producing 1.45 million tonnes annually.
Nhu Van Can, Director of the VDF's Aquaculture Department, said there is plenty of room for aquaculture to expand because the nation has a sizable area of unused coastal waters, estimated at 500,000ha.
The VDF said marine capture fisheries account for over 40% of fish exports and 43% of all fish caught.
The fact that Vietnam has over 1 million sq. km of sea area available for aquaculture but that a significant portion of the area is untapped can be attributed to the significant contribution of catch-based fisheries.
Notably, offshore farms make up about 20% of the nation's total aquaculture space.
Nhu Van Can said that in order to promote aquaculture, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had issued a decree on land lease and water surface lease. According to the decree, those who are interested in making long-term investments in marine farming may lease land for up to 50 years with an additional 20-year extension.
To replace Decree 67, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) urged the government to create a new decree. Fishermen who switch to farm-based methods would be given a farming site within three miles of shore under the new decree. The sites also include some helpful policies to make the transition easier.
Do Dinh Minh, head of the Quang Ninh Province's Sub-Department of Fisheries, said aquaculture has experienced an annual growth rate of more than 10% in the province.
In 2021, its farm-based output exceeded VND 4 trillion (~US$167 million; VND 1000 = US$0.042) and made up 65% of the province's overall fishery output.
The sub-department head emphasised the importance of high-quality seeds for mariculture's success. In order to produce the highest output and the best quality, the province will eventually reorganise farming areas so that breeding sites would be closely connected to rearing sites.
Tran Thanh Phong, Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Pangasius Association, said the pangasius subindustry needs cutting-edge technology to grow sustainably.
He called for the replication of several high-tech pangasius-rearing facilities across the nation after mentioning how they had successfully used technology to reduce costs and run more sustainably.
One such location is 600ha owned by Nam Viet Corporation, which uses a solar panel system and an automated feeding system to cut labour costs.
To produce high value-added products that satisfy global demand, he said they must aim to build concentrated pangasius-rearing sites that incorporate the latest technologies into all their farming stages.
According to the 2017 Fisheries Law, the province of Khanh Hoa will grant certain fishermen access to water surface in the near future, according to Le Tan Ban, Director of the department of agriculture and rural development in the province.
Locals who work in aquaculture and have switched from coastal capture to farm-based fisheries are considered eligible fishermen.
To improve the design and durability of the fishermen's cages against ocean waves, the province will persuade them to switch from using traditional cages to HDPE cages.
In order to increase farm-based output, wealthy companies will be urged to make additional investments in mariculture. To maintain the output stability, fishing cooperatives that are closely allied with the businesses will be established.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development estimates that monthly fuel consumption for capture fisheries is 330 million litres. In the first half of 2022, fuel prices increased while fishery prices remained the same, forcing many vessels to temporarily halt operations due to higher costs.
In the first half of the year, between 40% and 55% of vessels did not set sail for fishing, according to the ministry.
Farm-based fisheries appear to be a better course of action given the uncertainty of catch-based fisheries and the fact that significant importers have started to set higher standards on fishery quality and traceability.
- Vietnam Plus