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Lack of Fish Farming Policy Force Prices Down

VIET NAM - The lack of an overall fish farming policy has led to over production and a fall in prices of tra, according to the Viet Nam Fisheries Association.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in 2000, the Cuu Long River Delta had 1,650 ha of fish farms, while the figure rose to 5,000 ha in 2005 and 5,900 ha in 2008.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said the fish ponds could provide 1 million tonnes in 2007, far exceeding the forecast level for 2010.

Nguyen Huu Khanh, former Chairman of the Fisheries Association, said that wide-scale farming caused by the lack of an overall fish farming development strategy was the main reason for the overproduction and dramatic decreases of tra prices.

Nguyen Van Dan, Head of Thot Not-Vinh Thanh districts’ aquaculture division, said that Thot Not alone has 46,000 tonnes of oversize fish unsold.

He said 69 households in the districts have decided to stop farming fish.

Since February, tra prices have been falling dramatically, hitting the fish farmers hard.

Overproduction caused by excessive farming due to the lack of a tra farming industry development programme has been cited as the main reason.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in 2006, the Cuu Long River Delta had 36 tra fish processing workshops with the processing capacity of 274,000 tonnes of material a year. The figure has risen to 84 now with the total designed capacity of 1mil tonnes of product a year.

In An Giang province, farmers dug ponds to farm fish even in fertile land. Tens of thousands of hectares of land which was bringing in the income of tens of millions of VND per hectare turned into fish ponds.

Phan Van Danh, Chairman of the An Giang Aquaculture and Seafood Processing Association, said that several years ago, people rushed to breed fish, while those who had spare money rushed to buy land for fish farms.