|Farmers at Song Cau Town in the central Phu Yen Province enjoy over 80km of coastline that is suitable for lobster cultivation. — VNA/VNS Photo Phuong Hoa.
HCM CITY (VNS) — The lack of a national master plan for development of lobster cultivation has led to disease outbreaks, lobster-fry shortage and high production costs, experts have said.
In Viet Nam, lobsters are raised mostly in the central provinces, especially in Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.
The country now breeds more than 53,000 lobster cages with a total output of 1,600 tonnes a year, according to the Directorate of Fisheries' Aquaculture Department.
Of the 53,000 lobster cages, Phu Yen accounts for more than 23,600 and Khanh Hoa more than 28,400.
In Phu Yen, lobsters caught early this month weighed between 0.7 kilo and 1.7 kilo, and were sold at a price of VND1.3 – 1.5 million (US$61 - 71) per kilo.
Speaking at a seminar held in Nha Trang City on Sunday (August 16), Nguyen Viet Nam, head of the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 3, said the country's lobster output was 1,500 tonnes in 2005.
The output has increased only slightly compared to 10 years ago, he said.
The production cost for lobster fishing is 10 times higher than a decade ago, but the selling price is sometimes lower than 10 years ago.
Pham Khanh Ly, deputy head of the Aquaculture Department, said about 25-30 per cent of cultivated lobsters had been infected with milky hemolymph disease this year, causing severe losses for farmers.
The disease has not been treated thoroughly, he said.
Huynh Kim Khanh, head of the Khanh Hoa Aquaculture Sub-department, said to develop lobster farming sustainably, lobster cultivation areas should be zoned.
A zoning plan for lobster fries should also be developed, he said.
Lobster fries have to be caught at sea since production in artificial conditions has not been successful.
However, natural lobster fry resources have become depleted because of the loss of living habitat, according to Khanh.
In Khanh Hoa, for instance, the supply of lobster fries caught at sea has met only 30-40 per cent of the province's demand.
Khanh Hoa farmers have to buy lobster fries from neighbouring countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
Nguyen Thi Bich Nguyen, former official of the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 3, said there were many projects conducting research on lobster cultivation in recent years.
However, the projects are small-scale and had not been used to raise lobsters, she said.
Vu Van Tam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, assigned the Directorate of Fisheries and other agencies to solve the problems of lobster cultivation.
Besides research on advanced techniques, institutes and agencies should research the consumption markets for Viet Nam's lobsters in order to alert farmers about suitable cultivation, he said.
Most of Viet Nam's lobsters are exported to China. — VNS