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Viet Nam Launch Salmon and Sturgeon Pilot Project

VIET NAM A pilot project will be launched later this month to breed salmons and Russian sturgeons in Dai Tu District, northern mountainous province of Thai Nguyen.

Earlier surveys show that the province’s La Bang Commune boasts cool climate and fresh water sources which are suitable for the growth of the two high-valued fishes.

The project will be jointly carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Institute of Aquaculture Research 1 (RIA 1) and the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

RIA 1 previously raised 2,500 salmons and around 700 Russian sturgeons at the Na Hang hydroelectric plant reservoir in the northern Tuyen Quang Province.

After two years of experimental breeding, the sturgeons have grown to more than 20 kg in weigh each and 500 of them are expected to give roe during the second quarter of this year. The salmons also adapted well to the new habit.

Dr Bui The Anh, a sturgeon expert at RIA 1, confirmed that sturgeon can breed successfully in the country’s cold-water mountainous areas.

With assistance from Russian experts, RIA 1 imported sturgeon and began experimenting with breeding the species in May 2005. Currently, the institute is coordinating with the Ha Quang Co, Ltd and the Vinashin Vung Tau Joint Stock Company to raise Siberian, Chinese and Sterlet sturgeon in Na Hang in Tuyen Quang province and Sapa in Lao Cai province, as well as a number of locations in the Central Highlands.

Scientists believe that Vietnam’s high temperatures can help sturgeon to develop more rapidly, compared to other countries. The first batch of sturgeon eggs is expected to be harvested in March or April of this year.

Anh added that an expansion of Vietnam’s sturgeon breeding projects will bring in various socio-economic benefits to the country’s aquatic sector.

Sturgeon, a species of fish that appeared on the earth approximately 100 million years ago, is renowned for its delicious and nutritious meat, particularly when smoked. However, sturgeon roe, or caviar, is prized by gourmets worldwide. Its price reflects its relative rarity - caviar currently fetches between 4,000-6,000 USD/ kg in the world market.

Outside of captivity, sturgeon can be found in the waters of the Caspian Sea, the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Black Sea. People in the Caspian region of Russia have, on average, the longest lives in the country, a fact that has been attributed to their love of sturgeon roe.

Wild sturgeon is at risk of extinction as a result of overfishing due to its high economic value, prompting the United Nations to include the species in the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which forbids the import of wild sturgeon roe.

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