Vietnam’s aquatic production and seafood catch picked up in the first half of 2014 despite complicated developments in the East Sea, the Directorate of Fisheries said at a conference on June 30.

Over the period, the total output topped 2.86 million tonnes, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier with a 3.4 percent increase in farming yield and a 5.5 percent rise in fishing operation, statistics show.

The directorate reported that good weather plus stable fuel and seafood prices facilitated fishing activities.

However, the sector’s performance has been affected by tensions in the East Sea, triggered by China’s illegal placement of the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, as well as its escort vessels’ intimidation and damage to Vietnamese fishermen’s properties.

The agency has worked with authorities of littoral provinces to update fishermen on developments in the waters, legal regulations, and measures to avoid risks at sea, it said.

At the same time, by strictly following the farming schedule, diseases on grown aquatic products were curbed and the productivity was kept stable, reports added.

For the rest of the year, the directorate plans to step up the supervision over the observance of shrimp and tra fish farming regulations, disease prevention, and the quality of fry and animal feed.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the agency should push up trade promotion in key and new markets while working harder on negotiations on bilateral cooperation in order to remove trade barriers to drive exports.

He also asked it to continue to closely follow the East Sea situation, provide fishermen with safety guide, and examine ports and wharves for vessels to take shelter as the storm season is approaching./.