Farming of seaweed, a promising seafood product, will be encouraged (Source: hoitho.vn)
HCM City (VNA) - Farming of seaweed, a promising seafood product, will be encouraged, the Directorate of Fisheries has said.

A report it tabled at a conference titled “Current State and Outlook for Vietnam Seaweed Sector” in HCM City on August 5 projects annual growth in seaweed output at 5.3 percent and 3.3 percent in terms of area.

Nguyen Ba Son of the directorate said by 2020 the output would rise to 137,500 tonnes and the total area under seaweed to 12,600ha, up from 101,600 tonnes and 10,150ha in 2015.

Seaweed would be raised on islands and lagoons to increase yield, he said.
To achieve the goal, research would be done to develop high-quality seaweed products.

He called on processing companies to improve their technologies to meet the high demand in the domestic and international markets.

Experts told the conference that Vietnam has ideal conditions to farm seaweed, thanks to a 3,260km coastline and 1 million square kilometers of water surface.
Ngo Dang Nghia, director of the Institute for Biological Technology and Environment, said the country has more than 800 species of seaweed.

“Vietnam has [good] conditions to grow seaweed,” he said, pointing to the large ocean surface area and good environment.

Seaweed has beneficial health effects like reducing cholesterol and preventing certain types of cancers as well as cardiovascular diseases, he said.

It can also be used to make food products as well as cosmetics, he said.

The use of seaweed is becoming very popular in Vietnam as Koreans and
Japanese come to the country, bringing with them a habit of consuming it daily.

Nghia said many investors have started to explore this new sector on seeing the potential.

He said the Government should study the sector’s potential to develop it.
Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, deputy chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors, said both the Government and companies have underestimated the potential of the industry because they thought Vietnamese do not like seaweed because of its taste.

It is time to draft plans to develop the sector, she said.

She said that 90 percent of the country’s seaweed products are exported to many countries including Japan, the Republic of Korea and EU members.-VNA