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Catfish farms create waves in Mekong Delta

VIETNAM - Breeder at a tra catfish pond in hamlet 4 of Dong Thap Provinces My Tho Commune, Tu Trinh, cast handfuls of fish feed into the teeming water as each mighty specimen, about 1.5kg, muscle each other for a bite.

The aquaculture breeding area of the Southern Food Corporation in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap covers a total area of 50ha on the Tien River.

But despite his obviously abundant harvest, Trinh is not a happy man.

"I’m in a really difficult situation here because we’ve been banned from raising fish and seafood," he said.

It’s not just the emotional efforts. Trinh put together VND200 million to build the farm, completing it just in time to be told he couldn’t use it because the farm is within a zoned area for a different purpose. Many other fish farmers along the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are in the same boat.

It’s a far cry from the situation last year when one kg of tra catfish was sold at more than VND16,000 and local hopefuls rushed out to buy land to raise tra catfish. The flood of interest was unavoidable, and it was difficult to control the numbers, deputy director of Dong Thap Province’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department Duong Nghia Quoc said.

But the bubble was soon to burst as more and more provinces tried to tackle the escalating problem by tightening up rules on catfish pond construction.

Source: VNS