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Can Tho catfish-breeding programme catching on

VIET NAM Fish breeders on the Hau river in the southern province of Can Tho are becoming familiar with the Fresh Water Fish Associations safe catfish programme, launched in 2004.

Can Tho catfish-breeding programme catching on VIET NAM Fish breeders on the Hau river in the southern province of Can Tho are becoming familiar with the Fresh Water Fish Associations safe catfish programme, launched in 2004. The programme teaches farmers how to apply technology and implement the process of fresh water fish breeding to meet the Associations American Safe Food Quality Standard 1,000 (SQF 1,000).

A main benefit of this standard is that "it is possible to know the origin of the breed, the food they ate and the fish breeding process upon request from customers," Hai Thanh, a breeder on the Hau River said.

A focal point of the programme is that fish breeders like Hau are equipped with computers to log the whole breeding process. Using this method, it is possible to know for sure whether farmers have ensured the standard or not.

Members are tested at least once every three months to determine if they are correctly following the guidelines.

"Some members forget at times to log all the information since it is new for them and has yet to become habit, however with practice they will get used to the process," said Vo Phuoc Hung, Secretary of the General Director of the An Giang Fisheries Joint-stock company (Agrifish). If any member doesnt strictly follow the associations rules he will be excluded from the programme.

The Association has a management board and supervisors controlling the programme, and requires that each fish farm has its own veterinarian. It also maps the farms, with each pond having its own number based on size and water level, as well as the water pump systems.

The association expects to reap 50-60,000 tonnes of fresh water fish in 2006, equivalent to its export demand.

Proper conditions

The association chose fish farms at a clear distance from urban areas and industrial zones.

"The City of Can Thos authority is planning to set up a stable catfish farm along 300ha of the Hau River bank," said Nguyen Van Dan, the chief of Thot Not Seafood inter station. "The most important thing is to protect the environment from the effects of urban and industrial zone development."

The Can Tho fishery department is establishing fishery branches in the districts of Thot Not, Co Do, Vinh Thanh and O Mon. And those branches will co-operate to help breeders implement the safe fish programme.

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