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Seafood exports avoid dependence on imported raw materials
Raising lobsters for export still depends heavily on imported breeds. Photo: N. Hien

Actively source raw materials from marine farming

The above information was proposed by the speakers at the Conference "Current status of supply of breeds, food, and materials for marine farming; "Traceability of product origin and solutions for sustainable development of Vietnam's marine farming" was held last weekend, to promote aquaculture and export (export) of seafood.

According to statistics, Vietnam has over 1 million square kilometers of exclusive economic zone, while marine farming area only accounts for more than 20% of the total aquaculture area in the country. Marine farming still has a lot of room for development, but up to now, for many reasons both subjective and objective, marine farming has not fully exploited its inherent natural potential and advantages. According to a report by the Department of Fisheries (Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), in 2022, our country's marine farming area will reach more than 256,000 hectares, with output reaching nearly 750,000 tons; By 2023, output could reach nearly 800,000 tons.

To avoid dependence on imported raw materials, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien said that, in the context of increasingly declining aquatic resources, developing marine farming towards modern industry, Sustainability is one of the key tasks set by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Assessing the source of aquatic materials from marine farming, Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said that this is a field with a lot of potential with a sea surface area of over 1 million square kilometers. The 12th Party Central Committee issued Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW dated October 22, 2018 on the Strategy for sustainable development of Vietnam's marine economy until 2030, with a vision to 2045. , the Prime Minister also issued Decision 1664/QD-TTg dated October 4, 2021 approving the Project to develop marine aquaculture until 2030, with a vision to 2045, which sets a production target By 2025, seafood will reach 850,000 tons, but by the end of 2022, we will have reached 740,000 tons and will soon reach the target of 850,000 tons," Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said.

As a locality with a large marine farming area serving seafood export throughout the country, Mr. Tran Hoa Nam, Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee, said that aquaculture, including marine farming, plays an important role in the country. Vietnam's fisheries sector as well as socio-economic development in Khanh Hoa. Vietnam's marine farming area reaches 85,000 hectares with 8.9 million m³ of cages, with a total farming output of nearly 750,000 tons/year, contributing to an export turnover of 11 billion USD in 2022. The main species farmed at sea in Khanh Hoa are sea bass, cobia, yellowfin pompano, lobster... in which lobster is a farming species with high economic value that is favored by tourists and foreign import markets.

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien said that despite many difficulties in the past two years, it can be said that the fisheries industry is still standing strong. By the end of October 2023, output has reached 7.4 million tons, growing over 3%, while in 2022 the fisheries sector has grown by 4.88%, becoming an important pillar in Vietnam's agricultural sector growth (with a proportion of nearly 30%).

Guaranteed traceability

Currently, marine farming has formed a number of industrial farming areas, with rich varieties and these are potentials that need to be exploited in the new context, reducing exploitation and increasing aquaculture in a closed chain. However, there are still some problems that need to be overcome in current marine farming, such as the lack of initiative in breeds, fake and poor breeds, unknown origins, and many smuggled seeds. Regarding food, still using crabs and fish is the main cause of environmental pollution. Besides, the farming scale is still small, fragmented, and there is no overall planning, which creates difficulties for sea water transfer. Not to mention, harvesting and processing have not created a large increase in price value.

Regarding lobster products, Mr. Tran Cong Khoi, Head of the Breeding and Aquatic Feed Department, Department of Fisheries, said that lobster breeds are heavily dependent on imported shrimp from Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Singapore. . In 2022, the number of imported breeds will be 81 million; in the first 6 months of 2023, this number is 59 million. However, the lobster industry faces some difficulties such as some countries banning exports, so imports from Malaysia are infected with white spot disease caused by the virus - WSSV. As for lobsters, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development mentioned China's requirements for breeds and recommended that relevant units focus on research and solutions.

Pointing out some inadequacies in raw material sources from marine farming, Mr. Tran Hoa Nam assessed that marine farming activities in Khanh Hoa in particular and Vietnam in general are currently mainly near-shore farming; Farming on a small scale, traditional wooden cage materials being of low durability and instability, using fresh food... are causing environmental pollution and overlapping with the use of water surface areas with other industries. Other economic factors lead to low efficiency; breeding management is not really effective, especially for imported lobster breeds and marine aquaculture breeds, leading to difficulties in managing and tracing the origin of lobster and marine aquaculture products to meet current market demand.

Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Seaculture Association Le Ben shared that with the increasing requirements of many import markets, including carbon declarations, businesses must operate more responsibly in protecting the environment. This raises the issue of balance between livelihood and environmental protection, with a focus on small farming households. The solution that Mr. Ben proposed is to build marine aquaculture industrial clusters, creating a premise for offshore aquaculture, solving environmental problems, and initial investment for small farming households.

By Le Thu/ Huu Tuc

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