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Breeding Pangasius for Sustainability

VIET NAM - The social and environmental impacts of pangasius farming should be taken into account in developing a sustainable model for the Mekong Delta, a seminar heard last week.

Organised by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the seminar held in HCM City highlighted features of such a model.

Jan Kranghand, senior Department Manager of the Metro Group Buying International, said at the seminar that a proper model would cover hatchery selection, farming and harvesting.

For instance, farmers should choose parent fish that are over three years old. The average pond size should be 8,000 squar emetres and average density about 35 to 40 fish per square metre. The best time for harvesting is six to seven months.

Pangasius farming is one of the fastest growing types of aquaculture in the world.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers said the country has more than 9,000 ha for breeding pangasius with annual production increasingly by 20 per cent to 30 per cent over the last few years.

The main production areas of pangasius in Viet Nam currently the Mekong Delta cities and provinces of An Giang, Can Tho, Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Soc Trang and Hau Giang.

According to the web site, www.worldpangasius.com, in seven months of last year, exports of the fish from Vietnam to the European Union countries accounted for 39.4 per cent of the total output, Russia, 14.1 per cent, Ukraine 8.7 per cent, other ASEAN nations, 6.1 per cent and the United States 5.7 per cent.

Nguyen Van Hao of the Aquaculture Research Institute under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said at the seminar that pangasius farm size in the Mekong Delta was small, and typical operated and managed by farming households.

Seventy-two per cent of the farms were less than five hectare, he said, adding 76 per cent of the farms yielded 300 tonnes per hectare.

It was very hard to monitor and manage the quality of feed, water environment and the final product, he said.

Buyers and retailers requested local farmers to apply high standards and quality controls, but this posed a big investment challenge when the selling prices were quite low, he added.

He also stressed the need for an effective surveillance system capable of detecting disease outbreaks in a timely and accurate manner.

the Fish Site Editor

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