The Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2 has handed over 101,000 mature tra breeder fish to eight Mekong Delta provinces and Can Tho city as part of efforts to improve the quality of tra stock in the region.

Vinh Long was the first province to benefit, receiving 10,000 breeder fish.

Pham Thi Thu Hong, head of the province's Sub-department of Fisheries, said her agency has in turn handed over the fish to local breeding centres.

"We have also transferred breeding techniques to the centres and make regular checks to ensure good quality tra fry are supplied to farmers," she said.

To sustain quality, breeder fish are only allowed to breed twice a year, she said. Each fish has a tag carrying its age, place of breeding, and other details.

The origin of fish is soon going to become an export requirement.

Pham Truong Yen, deputy director of the Can Tho Fisheries, Plant and Animal Breeding Centre, said his agency got 1,000 fish weighing an average of 1.1kg each from the institute this year.

The new stock will gradually replace the city's existing breeder fish, which have degenerated, he said.

The programme is part of a 2010 Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development programme to create high-quality breeder fish stock in the delta.

The fish handed over to the provinces will meet about 60 percent of farmers' fry requirements in the next few years, the institute said.

They need 1.8-2.4 billion fry every year.

Nguyen Van Sang, deputy head of the institute, said it would hand over 30,000-40,000 more fish to the provinces each year for the next three years.

To improve the quality of the breeder stock, provincial fisheries sub-departments also regularly provide farming households training in farming tra fry and preventing diseases.

The Can Tho Fisheries Sub-department has also instructed tra breeding farmers to adopt global good agriculture practices, or GlobalGAP.-VNA