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Improving Catfish Management

VIET NAM - A number of Vietnamese farmers have volunteered to trial the draft better management practices (BMPs) developed by the catfish BMP project, for the purpose of evaluation and demonstration.

The draft BMPs were developed following extensive surveys of industry practice and stakeholder meetings convened by the project team in October 2009 in Cao Lanh City, Dong Thap Province (Chaired by Provincial Agricultural Office and the Director RIA 2, Dr. Nguyen Van Hao), and in Can Tho City (Chaired by Professor Nguyen Than Phuong of Can Tho University).

Eleven ‘BMP demonstration farms’ have been setup in partnership between farmers and the project team and are about three months into the six-month production cycle. These include seven grow out farms (three in Can Tho, one each in An Giang, Hau Giang, Vinh Long and Dong Thap), three nurseries (two in Dong Thap, one in Can Tho) and on hatchery in An Giang.

In addition, extension material on BMPs and the advantages of a cooperative approach to farm management amongst locally clustered farms have been prepared and distributed. Overall there has been a very good response from farmers with clusters being organised in certain communities.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of the BMPs as part of the demonstration farm trials is being undertaken by the project team in collaboration with the Department of Resource Management and Geography, Melbourne University, Australia. The evaluation will focus on Can Tho and An Giang provinces, with specific emphasis on economic, environmental and social impacts of BMP implementation as part of the demonstration trials.

In the mean time, the findings from the project’s field studies and associated surveys which led to the formulation of the draft BMPs are being published in peer reviewed scientific journals, thereby subjecting the collated information on the catfish farming sector in Vietnam to the scrutiny of the scientific world. It is expected that these publications will have a bearing on the subsequent development of certification standards for the sector by a wide range of independent organisations, and thereby enabling a more pragmatic approach to be adopted.

The BMP project is also linked to a study on climate change impacts on the catfish sector in the Mekong Delta. In this instance, the network of farmers that have been involved in the initial BMP surveys and at various stakeholder meetings are also cooperating with the climate change project to assess and evaluate the perception of climate change and potential adaptations to mitigate impacts. In addition, an attempt is being made using available models to determine the extent of catfish farming activities that are likely to be impacted from salinity intrusion resulting from expected sea level rise.

the Fish Site Editor

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