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Gloom for Vietnamese Breeders in Flood Aftermath

Environment Economics +2 more

HA NOI, VIETNAM - Inundation triggered by heavy downpours in the capital city last month is taking a heavy toll on the fisheries sector, putting breeders in a struggle with the scarcity of fish fry (baby fish) and the rocketing price of the product.

According to the Ha Noi Agriculture and Rural Development, the city lost 15,000ha out of total 18,000ha of aquatic product during the historical rains.

Although the number of breeding households in the outlying districts of the city has not yet been totalled up, the consequences are already proving dire.

Phuong Tu Commune in Ung Hoa District, about 50km away from the city centre, is a case in point.

Nearly one month has passed since the historical rains drenched the whole commune in flood water and the atmosphere here remains gloomy.

The commune which claimed to be one of the biggest fish granaries in the district has 241 households engaged in breeding fish in an area of 442ha of water surface.

Yet, all of these households suffered from a dead loss as the rains had swept away their fish. Most households complained they had not yet been able to resume their fishing business because the price of fish fry was to high for them to afford.

"I have no other choice but to leave my fishing pond idle," one local said.

The situation is no brighter in Hop Tien Commune in My Duc District, about 60km away from Ha Noi downtown.

As many as 197 households which are raising fish on more than 160ha of water surface are also on the same board.

Communal People’s Committee Chairman Dang Van Chuan said the commune used to supply the market between 2,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes of fish annually

"Now they are in miserable circumstances to clear off bank loans," he said, "Some owe up to VND1 billion."

High price and the scarcity of fish fry has become a hot issue in the city’s aquaculture ‘village’.

An owner, Nguyen Van San, who specialises in raising fish fry in Phuong Tu Commune said he provided more than 120 million fish fry a year for the whole district of Ung Hoa and communes nearby.

However, the historical downpour swept more than 50 per cent of pairs of parental fish and more than 200,000 fish fry away from his fishing ponds.

Vu Minh Duc, head of Ha Noi Agriculture and Rural Development Department’s breeding section also complained that the department could merely supply about 15 per cent of fish fry to the market although it has had 17 foundations specialising in breeding fish fry.

The scarcity of fish fry is causing high prices of the product as a matter of course.

A breeder in Hoa Son Commune said fish fry has increased by between VND5,000 and VND9,000 per kilogram depending on different types of fish.

"Even so, there is not enough to go around," he said.

In an attempt to help breeders restore their business, the Ha Noi People’s Committee already financed VND15 million per ha of aquaculture for losers.

The Ha Noi Agriculture and Rural Development Department has also asked breeders to raise their fish after winter to supply market demand during Tet (lunar new year).

Yet, the department forecast fish ponds in the outlying districts of the city would supply just about 5,000ha of fish during that period.