Floating fish crafts in Thổ Châu Island Commune in Kiên Giang Province’s Phú Quốc City. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt
KIÊN GIANG — Thổ Châu Island Commune in Kiên Giang Province is expanding breeding of marine fish in floating cages as it has favourable natural conditions for cage aquaculture.
Located 110 km off Phú Quốc City, the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta commune comprises eight large and small islands, and has clean sea water and plenty of trash fish caught from the sea for aquaculture.
Most households in the commune earn a livelihood from catching or breeding fish.
The commune has bred marine fish for nearly 20 years, but the output is not stable because of its isolated location, affecting breeding efficiency.
There is only one boat trip from Phú Quốc to Thổ Châu every five days.
Households in the commune breed cobia, grouper and other marine fish species, with cobia accounting for a majority of the output.
Nguyễn Thái Thông, chairman of the commune Farmers Association, said to secure outlets and stable incomes, the commune has established a co-operative group of five households for breeding marine fish in floating cages.
The commune's People’s Committee and Farmers Association are promoting these co-operatives. Under current regulations, a co-operative group must have at least three members, and a co-operative at least seven members.
The Việt Nam Bank for Social Policies is providing soft loans worth about VNĐ50 million (US$2,200) each for some fish breeding households in the commune.
The commune Farmer Association has petitioned the Phú Quốc City Economy Bureau to create conditions for providing breeding techniques and tending cobia.
Trần Văn Tân, who is one of fish breeding farmers in Thổ Châu, said that prices of bred marine fish were unstable.
“I and other people want to have a co-operative in which farmers can link together to breed marine fish, and thus can increase profits for farmers,” he said.
Of marine bred fish species, cobia is the best for breeding in the commune’s sea water as it has few diseases and grows well. It can reach a market size of 6 – 7 kg after six to seven months of breeding.
Tân breeds about 1,500 cobia in four floating fish crafts with an area of 32 sq.m each. In the last fish harvest, he earned a profit of VNĐ300 million ($13,000).
However, the impact of the COVID – 19 pandemic has affected the sales and price of marine fish, lowering the profit of breeding marine fish.
The commune authorities are working with Phú Quốc City, relevant departments and agencies to zone areas for breeding marine fish.
Fish breeding households have to move their floating fish crafts to suitable sea areas, depending on the month, to avoid strong winds and waves. They normally have to move their floating fish crafts to Bãi Dong sea between lunar May and lunar August, and to Bãi Ngự sea in the remaining lunar months.
Breeding cobia in floating rafts in Thổ Châu Island Commune in Kiên Giang Province’s Phú Quốc City. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt
Most floating fish crafts are made from wood and cannot withstand strong winds and waves.
The commune has 46 households breeding marine fish in floating crafts, with more than 100 cages on a total surface water area of about 3ha.
It achieved a seafood output of 140 tonnes last year, with one-third of the output from breeding marine fish in floating cages. — VNS