|TraVinh inhabitants have bred shrimp in submerged forests in the Mekong Delta province for several years. The breeding of shrimp and other aquatic species here has helped to preserve the forest's ecology.—Photo tinmoitruong.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — The breeding of shrimp and other aquatic species in submerged forests in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh in recent years has helped to preserve the forest's ecology.
From 2010 to 2014, farmers in coastal areas of the province have planted 3,200ha of submerged forests to breed aquatic species, increasing the total submerged forest coverage to 7,500ha, according to the province's Forest Protection Sub-department.
Tran Van Tri, head of the Sub-department's Forest Protection and Management Division, said that breeding shrimp in submerged forests had proven to be sustainable.
"This has encouraged farmers to invest in planting new forests," he said.
The Cuu Long (Mekong) province is implementing a plan to plant an additional 10,000ha of submerged forests.
The plan is being carried out in Chau Thanh, Cau Ngang and Duyen Hai districts.
The province has also encouraged farmers to breed aquatic species in submerged forests.
Phan Van Huan, who lives in Duyen Hai District's Hiep Thanh Commune, began using 4.5ha of submerged forests to breed shrimp in 2012.
In the first year of breeding shrimp in submerged forests, he earned a profit of VND300 million (US$14,200). Huan now has 7.5 of submerged forests in which he breeds shrimp.
"This method has few risks but high and stable profits," he said. "Besides shrimp, I also breed crabs and fish."
Nguyen Huu Loc in Duyen Hai District's Long Khanh Commune said the Long Khanh Mangrove Forest Management Board had allocated 50 ha of mangrove forests for him to protect and exploit.
"I have bred shrimp and crabs in the forest, so my income is now better," he said.
Huan and Loc are among thousands of farmers in Tra Vinh's coastal areas, mostly in Duyen Hai, Chau Thanh and Cau Ngang districts, who have earned high profits from breeding shrimp in submerged forests.
It requires low investment capital and can offer a profit of VND100 million (US$4,700) per ha a year, according to local farmers. Farmers who breed shrimp in submerged forests do not need to buy shrimp feed and antibiotics as the shrimp live on natural food. The forests also provide shade for shrimp ponds and protect them from harsh heat.
Tran Truong Giang, head of the Duyen Hai District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the method was promising, especially now that industrial shrimp breeding faced disease outbreaks.
"It helps to protect the environment and protect forests," he said. — VNS