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.

Farmers in Dong Thap province bet on tra fish

Dong Thap province, already the largest tra fish producer in the Mekong Delta, has further increased the breeding area this year because of the high prices the fish is fetching.

The area has increased by 20 percent to 1,381ha, including 200ha of new ponds.

The price of the fish at the pond has risen by 5,000-6,000 VND per kilogramme since last year to 28,000-30,000VND (1.2- 1.3 USD), fetching farmers large profits.

So far this year nearly 300ha of tra ponds have been harvested, with output being more than 100,000 tonnes, up nearly 5 percent year-on-year, according to the Dong Thap Fisheries Sub-department.

Le Hoang Vu, head of the sub-department, said the province is developing a model of tra farming based on contracts between farmers and processors.

Under the contracts they sign, farmers do not worry about working capital or selling their output because the processors provide them with fish feed and farming techniques.

In more than 60 percent of the breeding areas farmers have adopted quality standards such as global GAP or VietGAP.

Most tra processors in the province either manage to sign deals or have their own breeding areas to secure more than 60 percent of their raw fish supply.

The prices of the fish are expected to remain high because export demand remains high while output has not increased much.

With tra fetching high prices, many farmers in Dong Thap are digging ponds even in unzoned areas to breed the fish.

Tan Hong district and Hong Ngu town have 43ha and 18ha of new ponds in unzoned areas.

Nguyen Van Hoang, a local in Tan Phuoc commune, said the selling of paddy fields for turning them into tra ponds has gathered pace in the last two months.

Nguyen Thanh Tuan, Vice Chairman of the Tan Phuoc commune People’s Committee, said competent agencies have been ordered to work with farmers to stop the digging of tra fish ponds in unzoned areas.

People continuing to dig in unauthorised areas would be reported to the district’s People’s Committee, he warned.