Customers browse ornemental fish at a shop in HCM City's District 6 (Photo: afamily.com)

HCM City (VNA) - The demand for ornamental fish in the country is large but fish breeders in HCM City have not fully exploited this market because of their small scale of production.

The city, which leads the country in ornamental fish production, has more than 290 fish farms and households that breed them in around 88ha of water, according to the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s fisheries sub-department.  

More than half the households breed their fish in cement tanks, while the rest use ponds or glass tanks.

They mostly breed discus fish.

The markets for ornamental fish in large cities like HCM City, Hanoi, Can Tho, Da Nang, and Hai Phong and other provinces are large, fish producers said.

Le Nhu Phu, who owns Phu Khang Ornamental Fish Establishment in District 12, said the main limitation is that the city’s ornamental fish breeders operate on a small scale.

Besides, they do not have much variety to offer either, he said.

Vu Cam Luong of the HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry told Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper that consumers’ requirements are evolving steadily.

But breeders mostly keep churning out existing species, resulting in a lack of diversity, he said.

Le Huu Thien, Director of the Thien Duc Ornamental Creature Corp in Cu Chi district, said more and more species are used as ornamental fish, including many freshwater species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and marine species.

Therefore, it is important to cross breed ornamental species to meet the increasing and diverse needs, he said.

Luong said the cost of ornamental fishes accounts for only 10 percent of the money hobbyists spend, with ponds, equipment and other services needed for raising fish accounting for the rest.  

These services help increase the value addition in the ornamental fish sector, and the domestic market should be developed by meeting the needs of consumers, he said. 

The city supports ornamental fish producers, including through transfer of farming techniques and preferential loans.

The city produces about 135 million ornamental fish a year.

In the first 10 months of this year it exported nearly 16.25 million ornamental fishes, 14.5 percent more than in the same period last year, according to the fisheries sub-department.

It targets full-year exports of 18-20 million fish worth 20-25 million USD, up 15-20 percent year-on-year.-VNA