Farmers earn higher incomes from coldwater fish
Farmers and companies in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong are earning higher incomes from coldwater fish farming by using advanced techniques and taking advantage of favourable weather conditions. The province has 380ha of coldwater fish farming, up 18ha against 2017, according to the province’s Coldwater Fish Farming Association. Nguyen Dinh An, association chairman, said that a better fish-fry population, new farming techniques, and improved consumption and production had all contributed to higher incomes.
A total of 19 companies are participating in farming coldwater fish with investment capital of 896 billion VND (38.5 million USD) in the province, according to the association. In Đam Rong District, five companies and four households, for instance, are farming sturgeon on a combined area of 3ha with a total annual output of 10 tonnes a year. Each household breeds between 1,000 and 5,000 sturgeons for meat. The farmed sturgeons are mostly Siberian, Russian and hybrid sturgeon species.
To ensure stable water temperatures and enough oxygen, cold water taken from springs is used in farmers’ tanks. Huynh Ngoc Thu, who farms sturgeon in the district, has 22 tanks that produce sturgeon fry and sturgeon for meat. Sturgeon farmed for meat can reach a weight of 1.8-2.5 kilogrammes a fish after a 12–18 month breeding period, he said. With a yield of 10-15 kilogrammes per cubic metre a crop, Thu earns a profit of 1.2 – 2 million VND.
Traders pay 170,000-180,000 VND for a kilogramme of the fish. Water temperature and quality are especially critical in sturgeon farming, according to the district’s Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau. The district, which has favourable cool weather to raise sturgeon, has helped households and companies invest in sturgeon raising.
The province expects to produce about 1,250 tonnes of coldwater fish farmed in cages, ponds and tanks this year, according to the association. It also expects to produce about 1,500 kilogrammes of coldwater fish eggs and 1.5 million coldwater fish fry this year. By 2022, it targets producing 2,000 tonnes of coldwater fish a year.
The association will work with agencies to attract investment in coldwater fish farming and improve the quality of fish species. Coldwater fish farming must also be environmentally friendly, the association said.