The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has harvested more than 130,000 tonnes of aquatic species so far this year, up 15 percent from the same period last year, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The creatures include shrimp, mud crab, clam and fish, with shrimp accounting for 60,000 tonnes.
The province breeds brackish water shrimp in more than 125,650ha of ponds adopting extensive, semi-industrial and industrial farming.
More shrimp farmers have switched from traditional industrial farming methods to environment-friendly industrial farming.
They use anti-sunlight nets to cover their shrimp ponds, plastic sheets to cover the breeding pond beds and equipment to pump additional oxygen into the ponds.
Besides the breeding ponds, they also have others for treating wastewater.
Le Viet Hai, who breeds shrimp in Go Quao district’s Thuy Lieu commune, has six ponds with a total area of 1,300sq.m and uses more than 10 ponds to treat wastewater in a closed cycle and the treated wastewater is used for breeding.
Under this model, shrimp get few diseases and are clean, the yields are high and the creatures fetch more than the market price.
His profit margin was 20 – 30 percent, he revealed.
The province encourages farmers to breed shrimp to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards and international standards.
Aquaculture and rice are its two key economic sectors.
According to Mai An Nhin, deputy chairman of the province People’s Committee, the agriculture sector has shifted to breeding aquatic species in areas where only one rice crop is grown a year and yields are low.
The province has also developed the rice – shrimp farming model since it can adapt to climate change and is environment-friendly.
Under the model, farmers plant rice in the rainy season and breed shrimp in the dry season on the same field.
The province has 92,000ha of such fields, mostly in coastal areas, the highest in the delta.
Currently the province is in the rainy season and the weather conditions are unfavourable for aquaculture.
Therefore, the department has taken drastic measures to prevent diseases that affect aquatic species.
It has instructed farming companies and farmers to treat water properly before releasing them into ponds to prevent diseases.
It has warned households that breed marine fish in cages to carefully monitor water quality and diseases and clean cages every seven to 10 days to increase the circulation of water in them and eliminate disease pathogens.
The households have also been told to provide additional nutrients to their fish to improve their immunity.
Many households in island districts like Phu Quoc, Kien Luong and Kien Hai earn high income from breeding marine fish in cages, mostly grouper and cobia, for both domestic consumption and exports.
Phan Van Luu in Kien Hai’s An Son commune earns 250 – 300 million VND (10,770 – 12,900 USD) a year from breeding cobia in nine 15sq.m cages.
His nine cages can contain around 1,400 cobia.
The fish can attain weights of 6 – 8kg after 9 – 10 months.
Traders buy cobia for 140,000 - 160,000 VND (6 – 7 USD) a kilogramme and the fish is preferred by many people.
The province had nearly 3,000 fish cages in the sea with an annual output of more than 1,400 tonnes at the end of last year.
It has successfully bred cobia fry to supply farmers, helping them breed quality fish.