The Mekong Delta farmed 2,954 hectares of tra (pangasius) fish in the first five months of 2014, down 19 percent from a year earlier, according to the Directorate of Fisheries at a conference on June 9.

Over the period, the harvest also fell by 19.7 percent annually to 335,023 tonnes.

Meanwhile, fluctuating prices have been recorded since the beginning of this year. They reached the peak of 27,000 VND/kg in early April and dropped to 22,000 – 23,000 VND/kg for the 0.8 – 0.85kg per fish type at present.

The conference in Can Tho city focused on the implementation of the Government’s Decree No. 36, which is the first of its kind regulating the farming, processing and exporting tra fish.

Nguyen Huu Dung, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, suggested introducing a volume quota for each locality as well as concrete regulations on breeding fish, fry and feed along with credits for the tra fish farming.

He also urged international criteria to be applied in the field since those of the country such as Vietnam Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards have not been recognised globally.

According to the Vietnam Tra Fish Association, Mekong Delta localities plan to produce up to 1.3 million tonnes of tra fish in 2014, aiming for 650,000 – 680,000 tonnes in export volume and 1.75 billion USD in value.

Vietnam now makes up over 90 percent of the world tra fish supply, with the US , EU and Japan as its major markets.-VNA