Born into a family working in fishery, Mr. Thien is closely attached to Lap An lagoon, where there is a job of raising oysters for livelihood, for most of his life. It is said to be most of his life because he spends most of his time on the floating house of tens of square meters in the middle of the water for nearly 40 years.
Lap An lagoon area – where there is Mr. Tran Thien’s wire oyster farming spot and a tourist destination
Mr. Thien shared: The oyster farming job seems to be leisurely but it is precarious, a bumper harvest or poor harvest completely depends on the natural environment and weather factor. At the beginning, there were few farmers growing oysters, the environment is stable, and he could have a full bowl of rice after each season; Now that there are more farmers, with unfavorable weather, a breakeven is a blessing. There were times when he could earn a lot of money, he could buy all kinds of things in the house, but there were also times when he came back empty-handed!
“Oyster farming may look simple to people; you just have to breed them and drop them into the water and wait until the harvest season. Yet nearly 40 years of living with this profession, there have been times that I have to look at the production of the family coming in piles of shells. There were years of unfavorable weather, sometimes hot weather prolonged and salinity in the water was high, oysters could not develop, sometimes the amount of plankton in the water decreased oysters do not grow or die,” Mr. Thien said.
The story of Mr. Thien raising oysters for tourism is an interesting coincidence. On one occasion, on his visit to take photos of Lap An lagoon at Mr. Thien’s floating house, Mark - a French tourist guide, was amazed at the beauty of Lap An lagoon, he came up with the idea to work with Mr. Thien to build a stop to explore Lap An lagoon on his floating house and the oyster farming area.
So, the idea of raising oysters in combination with offering travel services has been implemented by Mr. Thien and the French guide. Accordingly, Mark is responsible for finding and leading his tourists to the destination. Meanwhile, Mr. Thien invests to expand his own floating house so that visitors can rest, visit, explore and dine right on Lap An lagoon.
Visitors to Lap An lagoon will be taken by motor boat to the floating house where he has designed to expand it with the central floor having hammocks for visitors to relax. From the main floor, Mr. Thien built a bridge to the small storeys so that visitors could enjoy the scenery of Lap An lagoon.
After that, visitors will experience diving, watching and harvesting oysters. Safety equipment for visitors is always available, although the lagoon water level is quite shallow. This is an interesting experience enjoyed by many tourists when coming here.
To serve meals for tourists, in addition to the available oysters of the family, Mr. Thien also raises many kinds of delicious fish such as snapper, grouper right below the floor so that visitors could see and enjoy. A two-hour visit to discover and rest at Mr. Thien's family oyster farming site costs each tourist 300 thousand VND.
Tourists who come here are mainly foreigners, all of them are very interested in being "fishermen", experiencing and discovering interesting and new things on their own. In the tourist season, on average, each day, his family receives 10 to 20 guests. There was time when he welcomed more than 40 or 50 guests, earning more than 10 million VND. This is a significant source of income to help his family settle down.
|“Cultivation of oysters in combination with tourism of Mr. Tran Thien's family is a pioneering model. Mr. Tran Thien's family transformed from a model of cultivating oysters using tires to raising oysters with wires, helping to tackle water pollution. Mr. Thien actively invests in boats, life jackets and rescue equipment for tourists when visiting the oyster farming model in Lap An lagoon. This model of combining economic development and tourism is very new, bringing a significant source of income to the family of farmer members," said Mr. Nguyen Dang Khoa, Chairman of Lang Co Town Farmers Association.
Story, photo: Ha Nguyen