Seaculture needs sustainable measures to thrive: experts

Seaculture holds significant potential for growth in Vietnam but measures are needed for its sustainability, experts told a conference on December 18.

Co-organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People’s Committee of the south-central coastal province of Phu Yen, the conference discussed the sector’s advantages and difficulties and put forth measures for sustainable development.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, Vietnam’s seaculture area covers about 500,000 ha, with marine production reaching 604,000 tonnes in 2020. The main species for cultivation include molluscs, fish, crustaceans, seaweed, and sea cucumbers, with local processed products primarily exported to the EU, the US, and Japan.

The sector has so far helped improve living standards, ensure marine security, and safeguard the country’s sovereignty over its seas and islands. However, it remains unplanned and without adequate infrastructure, while farmers’ breeding skills are yet to meet requirements. A number of farms overlap and conflict with other economic sectors, and cause environmental pollution.

Vice Director of the Phu Yen Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Tri Phuong suggested the Government establish a credit package and a set of standards, promptly address obstacles in the handover of water surfaces, boost human resources training, invest in coastal infrastructure, and build a roadmap for mariculture output, particularly of lobsters in Phu Yen and neighbouring provinces.

Representatives from the Research Institutes for Aquaculture No 1 and No 3 recommended the self-production of industrial feed to protect the environment.

Nguyen Huu Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Seaculture Association (VSA), advised localities involved to develop the sector in association with off-shore fishing, tourism, and wind power.

Echoing these opinions, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that for rapid and sustainable growth during 2021-2025, the sector should focus on infrastructure investment, breeding selection, and building a closed process from input to export that does not cause environmental pollution.