Soc Trang Fisheries: Striving for a Sustainable Development

2:43:35 PM | 9/11/2005

Located in the south-western region with a 72 kilometre coastline, Soc Trang province has three main river gates in the basin of the Mekong river: Dinh An, Tran De and My Thanh, which provide sediment and a coastal mangrove forest ecology, and create many alluvial grounds, convenient for seafood species to develop.
Great potential
Located within the south-eastern fishing area, Tran De is a place in which fishing boats and Soc Trang’s ships concentrate. This is also a place, convenient for building fishing ports. In 2004, the port received a total of 1,585 ships, handling 76,000 tonnes of cargoes, including 19,000 tonnes of seafood. The province also has over 30,000 hectares of alluvial soil and over 20,000 hectares of mangrove forest, let alone tens of thousands of hectares available for farming shrimps and fresh seafood. With its convenient fishing area and favourable natural conditions for aquaculture development, the Soc Trang fisheries service has paid attention to fisheries extension activities, organising many training courses to transfer technology to local farmers. In 2001, the province’s seafood farming area reached 53,245 hectares. It rose to 58,976 hectares in 2004. The province’s output increased from 24,850 tonnes in 2001 to 25,178 tonnes in 2004.
The province has concentrated on seafood processing, promoting its investment in renewing technology and equipment and diversifying products. As a result, its processed products have seen a rapid increase in both quantity and quality. Local processing enterprises have boosted their trade promotion activities to maintain their shares in traditional markets and enter new markets. The volume of exported frozen shrimps increased from 17,730 tonnes in 2001 to 34,956 tonnes in 2004 with an export turnover of US$286.4 million.
Soc Trang province now has nine frozen seafood processing plants with a total capacity of 72,250 tonnes of products per year. Its fishing fleet has 1,089 ships and boats with a total capacity of 59,179 horsepower with hundreds of thousands of workers. The province’s aquaculture has seen a rapid development but is yet to receive adequate investment capital. As a result, its productivity and quality remains poor.
Developing fisheries into a spearhead sector
In the coming years, with a target of developing fisheries into a spearhead economic sector, Soc Trang’s fisheries will continue to concentrate on developing shrimp farming. The province will plan suitable farming areas to improve the effectiveness of the industry. The province will also use canals in gardens and paddy fields to farm shrimps and fish with rice, thus helping increase the production value on a land unit. It will build small and medium-sized fry production farms to supply fries for local farmers, developing feed production establishments for meeting the demand of the intensive and semi-intensive farming of seafood. At the same time, Soc Trang will promote its investment in developing support facilities for the fishing industry, completing the building of the Tran De fishing port, second phase, to increase effectiveness of the local fishing fleet and the quality of products, reducing post-harvest losses. The province will build and upgrade its processing plants with modern technology and equipment to have products of high quality. The local fisheries service will expand its share in new markets, increase its export value and attract more materials supplies for export processing. Also, scientific and technological application will be promoted to manufacture more high-end products, increasing the processing effectiveness. The province’s target is to expand its seafood farming area to 80,000 hectares in 2010, with a total output of 242,000 tonnes, processing 90,000 tonnes and earning US$620 million.
Pham Huu Lai, deputy director of the Soc Trang Department of Fisheries, said that despite having abundant natural resources and great development potential, the Soc Trang Department of Fisheries faced many difficulties due to a lack of capital, knowledge and technology. The local fisheries service hopes to receive support and assistance from Vietnamese and foreign researchers and investors to fully tap the province’s development potential, stressed Lai.
Hoa Binh