Vietnam, with a coastline of over 3,260 kilometers (km) and more than 3,000 islands and islets scattered offshore, plus up to 2,860 rivers and estuaries, has been geographically endowed with ideal conditions for the thriving fishery sector which currently exists.

Great potential of fishery sector in Vietnam is embedded in water bodies of 1.700.000 ha in which 811.700 ha freshwater, 635.400 ha brackish waters and 125.700 ha coves and 300.000 - 400.000 ha wetland areas might be employed for aquaculture development.

The Mekong River Delta in the south and the Red River Delta in the north have been used for wild catch fishing as well as extensive fish farming.

Shrimp and pangasius mostly farmed in the Mekong River Delta, in which, shrimp farmes located in coastal provinces such as Tra Vinh, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Ben Tre..

Pangasius farming is developing in many provinces in Mekong River Delta such as Can Tho, Vinh Long, Tien Giang, An Giang, Dong Thap, Soc Trang, Hau Giang, Tra Vinh....

Production in the fishery sector grew at an average rate of 7.05% from 1991 to 2000, and 10% from 2001 to now. The country produces annually over 6 million MT of fish, in which its landings reached 2.7 million MT and aquaculture reached 3.3 million MT. In 2015, total fisheries production reached 6.56 million MT, including 3.03 million tons from catching and 3.53 million tons from aquaculture.

Co To moves toward sustainable seafood sector

Co To island district in the northeast of Quang Ninh province is working to ensure sustainable aquaculture development.

According to Vice Chairman of the Co To People’ Committee Dao Van Vu, an aquaculture master plan is necessary to capitalise on the locality’s potential, develop the economy and protect the country’s sea and island sovereignty.

The district plans to focus on mordernising the local seafood sector towards high-quality products for export and tourism. Aquaculture exploitation will be planned in line with local planning and fish breeding. Meanwhile, the district will work to develop value chains and protect the eco-system.

Vu said Co To will maintain its total annual seafood output at 8,000-10,000 tonnes until 2020, and strive to increase added value for seafood products by 160-170 billion VND (6.88-7.31 million USD) in the next two years. Also, it targets 12-13 percent in annual growth of the local seafood sector.

The district has asked Quang Ninh province and relevant ministries and branches to prioritise capital to develop technical infrastructure on the island to lure more investors. Currently, incentives such as land and water surface rent exemptions are being given to businesses that invest in processing zones, coastal economic zones and border economic zones.

As part of the efforts to develop the local seafood sector, the provincial Department of Science and Technology joined hands with the district People’s Committee to develop “Co To squid” brand name in 2012 with an investment of 3 billion VND (129,000 USD). With the support of the project, many families have applied advanced technologies in their seafood harvest and processing to ensure food hygiene.

Modern equipment has also helped local fishermen earn more money from jellyfish processing.

Vu attributed the initial achievements of the island in moderninsing local aquaculture to a Government decree on policies to branch out the seafood sector.