Vietnam seeks sustainable development of fisheries hinh anh 1Breeding marine fish in floating cages in Kien Giang Province’s Phu Quoc District. (Photo: VNA)

Can Tho (VNS/VNA) Fisheries output is expected to reach 8.2 million tonnes this year, much higher than the target of 6.5 – 7 million tonnes set under a 2016-20 sustainable seafood development programme, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.

The export value is expected to be 10 billion USD against a target of 8- 9 billion USD.

The output last year was 8.15 million tonnes, 4.38 million from aquaculture.

Yet the Government has invested only 14.5 trillion VND (626 million USD) in the programme, or 29 percent of the amount earmarked, for building fishing ports, storm shelters for fishing boats, seafood farming areas, fish fry farms, and other infrastructure.

Speaking at a seminar to review the programme in Can Tho city this week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said the investment has been too low with the development of infrastructure not meeting the requirement even as the country signs more and more international trade agreements.

Aquaculture has huge potential and so the country needs to reduce its catch at sea and increase marine aquaculture to develop fisheries sustainably, he said. 

He presented a draft strategy for seafood production for the period up to 2030 to gather public opinion before submitting to the Government for approval.

It aims to expand the fisheries sector until it accounts for 30 percent of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

It seeks to increase output to 10 million tonnes a year, 25 – 30 percent from the sea and 70 – 75 percent from aquaculture.  

It aims to increase exports to $18 - 20 billion a year and creating 3.5 million jobs.

It requires all processors who export seafood to comply with food safety and environmental protection requirements.   

Luu Hoang Ly, director of the Bạc Liêu Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the strategy should have a loan programme for developing seafood production and managing farms.

Besides, infrastructure should be created to serve shrimp farming, he added.

Officials from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s aquaculture output, said in recent years the investment in fisheries has been inadequate to fulfil the country’s potential in aquaculture.

Zoning plans should regulate the number of fishing boats allowed for each province, they said.

There should be zoning plans for local aquatic species that have high export potential like eel, frog and giant river prawn, they said.

The strategy should help fishermen who work near shore switch to aquaculture or services, they added.

Nguyen Thanh Dung, vice chairman of the Can Tho city People’s Committee, said aquaculture production and seafood processing in the delta and elsewhere face many difficulties and challenges like low technology, insufficient infrastructure, lack of funding, climate change, pollution, and disease outbreaks. 

The strategy would play an important role in restructuring fisheries to increase value addition and achieve sustainability, ensuring the country integrates globally and catches up with other countries in science and technology, he said./.