Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — The breeding of fish in coastal floating cages has been expanded in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang.
Last year, there were 2,848 cages that yielded 2,720 tonnes of fish, up 21 per cent from 2016, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Kiên Hải, Phú Quốc and Kiên Lương districts, along with Hà Tiên Town, are the main breeding areas in Kiên Giang, which has the largest number of cages in the delta.
In Kiên Lương, which has the largest number of cages in the province, fish breeding has developed strongly in Hòn Nghệ and Sơn Hải communes, which account for more than 1,700 cages.
Farmers normally raise some 1,000 fish in each cage during an 8-10 month period.
A cage with cobia fish can earn a profit of VNĐ50-60 million (US$2,200 – 2,600) per harvest, according to farmers.
This high income has resulted in the expansion of breeding fish in areas along the coast in recent years.
For instance, in Hà Tiên’s Tiên Hải Commune, some 100 households now have more than 170 cages.
Phan Thanh Bình, deputy chairman of the commune People’s Committee, said many fishermen in the commune had switched to raising fish in cages in recent years because of the low income earned from fishing at sea.
Last year, many households with cages earned large profits because of favourable weather and efficient farming techniques, he said.
Hồng Xuân Thân, who raises cobia and grouper in 20 cages in Tiên Hải, said the price of fish was higher last year than in previous years, and he earned a profit of VNĐ20 million for every 100 fish he bred.
According to Thân, the prices of cobia and grouper are now VNĐ110,000-120,000 and VNĐ400,000-500,000 per kilogramme, respectively.
“The lives of most families breeding fish in cages here have improved in recent years, thanks to their high incomes,” he said.
Also, tourism revenues generated by people coming to see the fish cages meant extra income for their owners, he said.
Tourists like watching the fish and feeding them.
However, fish farmers in the commune face many difficulties, including a lack of money to make cages, a dearth of quality fish for breeding, and diseases.
A cage costs some VNĐ30-50 million ($1,300 – 2,000) to build.
This year, Tiên Hải Commune plans to increase the number of cages to 200, and output to 500 tonnes of fish.
To sustainably develop the industry, commune authorities, in co-operation with other agencies, plan to zone breeding areas for individuals and companies, Bình said.
It would also provide forecasts about the environment and outbreaks of diseases, he said.
With nearly 200 kilometres of coastline, the province seeks to increase the number of fish cages to 3,000 by 2020, and annual output to 6,000 tonnes of fish, according to the department.
Cobia, grouper, seabass, pomfret, and red snapper, along with lobster, are the favoured species. — VNS