TIỀN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tiền Giang is focusing on developing aquaculture and seeking investment in the sector.
With a coastline of 32 km and three large estuaries, the province is well placed to breed shrimp and bivalve molluscs.
Its coastal areas with mangrove forests offer ideal conditions to breed molluscs such as blood cockles and yellow clams.
On the coast, aquaculture is done mostly in Tân Phú Đông and Gò Công Đông districts.
Gò Công blood cockles are considered the country’s best species because of their high survival rate and good-looking and delicious meat, according to traders.
The district would sustain aquaculture on 7,000ha, with the focus being on bivalve molluscs in Cồn Ngang Island and freshwater aquatic species, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Bùi Thái Sơn, secretary of the district Party Committee, said to foster aquaculture in coastal areas, the district invested in a number of irrigation projects.
“Shrimp farming areas have been expanded and breeding aquatic species in mudflats offers large incomes to locals.”
The district’s shrimp farming area increased from 3,084ha in 2008 to 7,400ha last year.
It is seeking investment to build a 352ha aquaculture area in Phú Tân Commune’s Cồn Cống Hamlet.
In Gò Công Đông District, there are 2,200ha of clam farms that produce 20,000 tonnes a year.
The district is collaborating with the province Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Quality Management Sub-department to apply Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards for breeding Gò Công clams to export to the EU, US and Japan.
Nguyễn Văn Qúy, head of the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the district had strengthened dissemination of efficient farming techniques and models to support aquaculture farmers.
It has established two such models for shrimp farming, one using bio-products and facilities for producing oxygen in pond beds for breeding white-legged shrimp and the other for two-stage shrimp farming, he said.
Farmers in the district have harvested 14,000 tonnes of seafood so far this year and the full-year total is estimated at 25,000 tonnes.
Tiền Giang Province has preferential policies for investors in aquaculture, seafood processing for exports and feed for aquatic species.
Its fisheries output has been growing at an annual average rate of 7.5 per cent in recent years.
It has nearly 4,000ha of shrimp ponds with an annual output of 16,000 tonnes and 2,300ha of clam breeding areas with an output of 17,500 tonnes in coastal areas. Most of the production is exported.
Tiền Giang has focused on developing the marine economy, especially fishing.
It has rolled out multiple policies to help fishermen modernise their boats for off-shore fishing in recent years, according to its Fisheries Sub-department.
It is providing boats with fuel subsidies for off-shore fishing worth VNĐ18 – 60 million (US$780 – 2,600) per trip for four trips a year.
It is also providing single sideband radios to off-shore fishing boats to get weather forecasts so that their crew could avoid storms and find shelter while at sea.
The province Agriculture and Aquaculture Extension Centre has trained fishermen in the use of JMC – CSL 1000 sonar, a fish shoal detection device.
The device costs VNĐ140 million ($6,000) and the province provides a 50 per cent subsidy.
Trịnh Công Minh, deputy director of the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said fishermen were helped to upgrade their boats for fishing off-shore.
The province prioritises investment in infrastructure, logistics and boat making establishments to serve the fishing industry.
It also plans to upgrade the Mỹ Tho and Vàm Láng fishing ports, which also serve as storm shelters for boats.
The province caught 39,738 tonnes of seafood in the first quarter of this year, and most fishing boats made profits because of steady seafood prices, according to the Fisheries Sub-department.
To increase the time boats spend fishing at sea, the sub-department encourages fishermen to establish co-operative groups and unity groups for fishing and helping one another at sea.
The province has 11 co-operative groups and 51 unity groups that comprise 267 fishing boats. – VNS
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