Vietnam should reduce its dependence on fish seed imports to increase its seafood export profits in the future, said Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development Vu Van Tam.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, nearly all fish seeds except tra and basa fish have to be imported from other countries or exploited in their natural environments.

The seeds come from tiger and white-leg shrimp, as well as lobster, eel, tilapia and sturgeon. Of these, Vietnam has imported 20 percent of demand for parents of tiger shrimp seeds and 100 percent of demand for parents of white-leg shrimp seeds. Farmers have found white-leg shrimp to be quite lucrative.

The domestic fisheries sector needs 180,000 white-leg shrimp parents to meet domestic demand for 100 billion seeds. To meet such a demand, they need to import all parents from the United States, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

Tam noted that import dependence had relegated enterprises and farmers to a passive role in seed production and had resulted in exports that were priced high to cover import costs.

To address this concern, the ministry and aquaculture research institutes had been implementing domestic shrimp seed production projects since 2013 to develop domestic sources and reduce import dependence, Tam said.

If the sector could produce seeds at home, the price of seeds could go lower than that of imports, thereby increasing farmers' profits and placing shrimp disease under control, said Pham Anh Tuan, Deputy Director General of the Directorate of Fisheries.

The ministry expects Vietnamese seafood export profits to reach 7.3 billion USD to 7.5 billion USD for the entire year, or more than 6.7 billion USD in 2013. Of this, shrimp export profits could make up 3.6 billion USD or more than the 3.1 billion USD achieved in 2013.-VNA