Freshwater fish output of the southernmost province of Ca Mau is forecast to stand between 20,000-22,000 tonnes in 2015, falling by 10,000 tonnes from last year, a local official said.

Such a decline is attributable to fewer rainfall and storms that triggered a lack of sufficient water for the growth of freshwater fish stocks, a shortage of fries supply, and the pre-season fishing.

Nguyen Van Tranh, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the sharp fall will affect the income of thousands of local farmers and drive up fish prices, especially in the prior Tet (Lunar New Year Holiday) period when purchasing power usually soars.

Freshwater fish prices have hiked up, said Nguyen Thi Phuoc, a fish trader at Ca Mau market. Prices of snakehead fish rose from 80,000 VND to 120,000 VND per kg while that of tilapia also increased to 150,000 VND per kg from 120,000 VND.

Being surrounded by sea on three sides, fishing is an important industry in Ca Mau province. However, fish farming has also been thriving in the locality. The southernmost province is part of the Mekong Delta key economic region, which also comprises Kien Giang and An Giang provinces and Can Tho City.-VNA