Tam Giang Lagoon rich in aquatic resources. Photo: Nguyen Phong
The water surface area of the lagoon in Phu Loc District has become vibrant in recent years when thousands of fish cages appeared. This place has become a supply of “specialty fish" of the province when many fish species of high economic value are raised by the people such as Serranidae, Caranx ignobilis, Scatophagus argus, Siganus…
Mr. Nguyen Hung (Vinh Hien Commune, Phu Loc District), one of the households raising caged fish in this locality said that in the old days, fishing on the lagoon was the people’s main livelihood. After some households had access to the method of raising caged fish on the lagoon, thousands of fish cages have sprouted on the water surface in the localities such as Vinh Hien, Loc Binh (Phu Loc District)...
Deputy Head of the Provincial Subdepartment of Fisheries Phan Thi Thu Hong explained it is the interference between fresh water and salt one in the estuary that makes this water area suitable for the development of high-value fish. At the same time, although raised, the fish species are largely naturally caught by the people, so the post-harvest quality of fish is superior to other areas.
In order to raise fish, Phu Loc people are very careful with breeding. In the mating season of fish, they row the boat along the estuary to catch the breeding fish, and then proactively incubate those in cages to select healthy breeds.
“Although many years of climate change have witnessed the mass deaths of caged fish, in general, the aquatic products of this area are of high value. Fish farmers just take pains take care of and raise fish according to the seasonal schedule, which will significantly reduce losses. Our fish are not only sold locally but also consumed in the provinces and cities,” said Mr. Tran Van Binh (Loc Binh Commune).
Tam Giang Lagoon system is creating livelihoods for the people not only in Phu Loc but also in other localities such as Quang Dien, Phu Vang, Phong Dien ...
With a water surface area of about 22,000 ha, Quang Dien District is gradually "awakening" the lagoon, which is seen as an infinite resource stock. In recent years, besides developing tourism services, exploiting and raising fish species have enabled the people to have a stable life.
Mr. Phan Dang Bao, Vice Chairman of the People's Committee of Quang Loi Commune (Quang Dien District) said that the lagoon aquatic products, including fish, have long been popular local products. Typically, the dawn market in Ngu My Thanh Village (Quang Loi Commune) is a place to provide the quality lagoon fish varieties for people inside and outside the area.
Step by step branding
The surveys of aquatic products in many localities show that fish are the species providing stable income for the people. However, sometime, the output is the concern of many people and the authorities.
“The people’s products have not yet had monopoly sale from any unit; the prices of the products have depended on the market and traders. And there was the time when unsold fish made farmers get the worst of all worlds," said Head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Division of Phu Loc District Nguyen Van Thong.
The water surface area of Loc Binh Commune (Phu Loc District) is the habitat for many high-value fish species.
In May 2019, the Provincial People's Committee incorporated the group of aquatic and marine products in the lagoon including Tam Giang - Cau Hai Lagoon fish into the list of key products of the province. And at present, the functional agencies are gradually building the brand in order to assert a true quality product in the market.
Ms. Phan Thi Thu Hong, Deputy Head of the Provincial Fisheries Subdepartment, said that this unit is working in concert with the relevant agencies to reach an agreement on selecting specific products.
“There are many groups of fish, and the people are both exploiting and raising them. Therefore, we are working with the Department of Science and Technology to find a consulting unit to select specific products suitable for reality,” said Ms. Hong.
Also according to Ms. Hong, in order to have a group of commodity products, although we are not proactive in the breeds, some species of fish such as Siganus, though few, can be raised on a large scale. And if you want to have the group of fish of economic value such as indigenous brown fish, bee fish, the localities can provide high-value specialties. Therefore, the raw material area is no longer a concern; the other thing is to find a stable and traditional consumption market for the product.
To meet the branding criteria, fish farmers need to comply with the regulation of the 2017 Fisheries Law, including the regulation of the right to exploit water surface, a problem that has long been neglected in many localities
In order to solve this, the Provincial Fisheries Subdepartment is working with the localities to review, adjust and supplement their detailed aquaculture plans; set up the aquaculture projects to concretize planning orientation; promulgate the detailed regulations for aquaculture households to strictly comply with the planning...
Story and photos: Le Tho