In this article we are going to explore the trends of the Vietnamese aquaculture market. The aquaculture sector in Vietnam has great potential to continue its current growth; however, there are a number of challenges ahead for the sustainable growth of the sector.
According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) total aquatic production and export turnover value will be increased, especially with regard to aquaculture. The increase in the proportion of aquaculture production continues to show a positive trend, i.e. 31.2 percent in 1991 and 36.1 percent in 2000 to 43.8 percent of total national aquatic production by 2003. The growth in value of total production has been maintained at the rate of over 10 percent, the growth in export turnover is expected to remain over 8 percent annually in the coming years.
According to the MoFI (2005), the supply of aquatic seed is considered a key factor for aquaculture development, the quality and quantity of aquatic seeds will be focused upon to ensure a sufficient future supply for aquaculture use. The composition of key farmed species will be developed to meet the needs of both commercial aquaculture development and export requirements. Further development in future of marine and coastal aquaculture will also take place.
In addition, both the export and domestic markets will be expanded to absorb the production potential for aquatic products in Vietnam and to stimulate further development of aquaculture. The quality of aquatic products has also been enhanced to meet the demand from export and domestic markets, the diversity of aquatic products will be linked to an increase in the domestic per capita consumption. Attention will also continue to be given to the continued development of branding and image of Vietnam's exported aquatic products to assist in the expansion of export markets as well as its market share.
Alongside these positive trends and advantages in continuing to develop aquaculture, Vietnam's fisheries sector (including aquaculture) is also faced with several issues which require to be addressed, namely:
- The demand from export markets for high quality, safe and clean aquatic products.
- Despite the rapid development of industrial scale shrimp culture which has contributed significantly to the total aquaculture production from the fisheries sector, the large scale outbreak of disease is a serious issue of concern for future shrimp farming development in the coastal areas of Vietnam.
- A rapid expansion of the area being utilised for aquaculture has been difficult to regulate, this has in some cases resulted in: the required infrastructure and canal systems not meeting the standards required for aquaculture operations; a lack of effective solutions to meet the need for good quality seed in sufficient amounts to meet requirements; a lack of environmental protection for aquaculture areas; a lack of capital for investment in aquaculture infrastructure; limitations on availability of man power, skilled staff and workers; insufficient administrative capacity for the sector; as well as the situation where poorly educated fish farmers are struggling to meet the high targets set for the safe and effective development of a sustainable fisheries sector.