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Lobster industry struggles due to inadequate planning

Update: April, 05/2014 - 09:09

HCM CITY (VNS)  — The lack of industrial animal feed for lobsters, aquaculture zoning plans and lobster fry are causing major problems for the country's lobster farming industry, experts say.

Speaking at a seminar held in Phu Yen on Monday, Nguyen Tri Phuong, deputy director of the Phu Yen Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province has been developing the lobster farming industry for 30 years but faces several challenges, including fry shortages and disease which are putting farmers in a vulnerable position.

Currently, the supply of lobster fry depends on what is caught at sea as lobster fry is yet to be produced in farming conditions successfully.

According to the Directorate of Fisheries, the country catches 7.5-9 million lobster fry every year, but at the moment demand is outstripping supply and the country has had to import lobster fry from neighbouring countries.

Participants at the seminar said most lobster breeding provinces do not have zoning plans for lobster aquaculture and in some areas, farmers are breeding lobsters in high density, breaching zoning plans.

Vo Van Nha of the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 3, said to develop lobster culture sustainably, it requires the combined effort of a number of factions, as well as research into to producing lobster fry artificially and improving farming techniques.

The Institute of Aquaculture No. 3 has been researching lobster fry production for 20 years but so far, has not been successful.

Pham Khanh Ly, deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Aquaculture Department, said provinces that have natural lobster fry resources must draft zoning plans for catching lobster fry to protect the supply and fishermen who catch lobster fry should be managed through licensing.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will this year draft up a comprehensive plan for developing lobster cultivation between now and 2020, he said.

The ministry plans to implement measures for applying farming techniques and preferential policies such as loans, aquaculture extension and market development, he said.

The country breeds more than 43,000 lobster cages with a total output of 1,400 tonnes worth VND3.5 trillion (US$166 million) a year, according to the Directorate of Fisheries.

The country breeds several kinds of lobsters, including ornate spiny lobster, longlegged spiny lobster and rock lobster.

Lobsters are raised in the central provinces of Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan in Viet Nam, which is one of few countries that has lobster farming. — VNS

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