Artificial reef placement proves useful in Cà Mau Province

April 18, 2023 - 08:38
Surveys conducted before and after the placement also indicated a considerable improvement in local fishermen’s income.
Artificial reefs are used to create breeding areas for fish — VNA/VNS Photo

CÀ MAU — After more than three years, a project placing artificial reefs to protect and enrich fishery resources in combination with tourism development off the southernmost province of Cà Mau has recorded initial encouraging results.

From 2019 to 2021, with support from the Thai Government, Cà Mau placed 500 concrete blocks in its western sea area to accommodate marine species. Following initial successes, it added another 400 structures under a programme on fishery resources protection and development.

Nguyễn Việt Triều, deputy head of the province’s sub-department for fisheries, said the work has created living and breeding sites for marine animals and helped them avoid destructive fishing methods, contributing to fishery resources recovery.

A survey of the area where the 900 blocks are placed shows that the inshore maritime ecosystem, including small fish and the species with high economic or biotope values, has been protected from the negative impacts of some fishing activities.

Another important result is the improved environment in this area and its vicinity, he said, elaborating that there are now 97 commercial species, including 62 fish, 15 crustaceans, and 20 mollusc species, up from only 40 commercial species (25 fish, eight crustacean, and seven mollusk ones) before the reefs were put.

Surveys conducted before and after the placement also indicated a considerable improvement in local fishermen’s income. The average catch and profit from gillnetting have increased by 15.4 percentage points and VNĐ6.5 million (US$277) each trip. Meanwhile, the catch from fish traps rose 27.4 per cent and from squid fishing 16.1 per cent on each trip.

The presence of predatory fish such as cobia, mackerel, doublespotted queenfish, and barracuda also proves the recovery of the natural food chain in this area, Triệu added.

The placement of man-made reefs has also helped provide more livelihoods for local residents, he noted, adding that new jobs have been created such as supplying diving and recreational fishing services while public awareness of fishery resources protection improved.

Châu Công Bằng, deputy director of the Cà Mau Province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said such results give the province a basis to expand the existing area of artificial reefs and apply the model to other zones with similar conditions. The move promises high effectiveness in conserving fishery resources and developing the sector sustainably. — VNS