Fishery and Aquaculture

Thanks to favourable natural conditions in all three zones of environment (fresh water, salt- and brackish-water), fishing and aquaculture in Ben Tre have expanded significantly and accounts for 35.7% in Section I of the economy. The gross production value of fishery in 1999 accounted for 16.9% of the GDP. Its average growth rates were estimated at 5.5% annually between 1990 and 1995, and this shot up to more than double during 1996 and 2000, at 11.6% per year. In 2001, fishery produced a gross value of VND1,816 billion (US$120 million).

Fishery activities have been encouraged to develop toward offshore fishing as one of the many measures taken by the province's government to boost the industry's output. In 2002, for example, the total number of fishing boats reduced by more than 14% compared to 2001, to 1,670 boats from 1,959 boats, whereas the number of offshore fishing boats increased by 11.5%, to 528 boats from 459 boats. Similarly, the total output and output capacity were also pushed up by 6.6% and 11.14%, respectively.

Supporting the fishing activities, Ben Tre has built 2 fishing ports in An Thuy (Ba Tri) and Binh Thang (Binh Dai).

In aquaculture, the total area of water surface (or culturing ponds) has been rapidly extended, from 12,470 ha in 1990 to 33,028 ha in 2000. In 2002, the figure was 34,392 ha, up by 6.6% compared to 2001. The same year, production volume increased by 50% compared to 2001, in which shrimp increased by 23.9% and clam increased by 63%. Exceptionally, the shrimp breeding business during the same time rocketed by 116.5%.

The province's government has spared no efforts to introduce optional models of aquaculture such as: shrimp culture in woodlands, intercrop of shrimp culture in rice fields, extensive culture, semi-industrial extensive culture, industrial culture, etc. So far, the intercrop form of shrimp culture in rice field has been expanded and has produced good results in Binh Dai, Ba Tri and Thanh Phu. The province's government has also invested much more in building salt water works catering for 1,800 ha of salt water shrimp ponds (in Giao Thanh and Thanh Phuoc); maintaining newly grown systems of protective forest; developing technical services, breeding and feed supplies,... All these are facilitating in the first place for the sustained development of aquaculture in Ben Tre.

Some of the most concerned issues at the moment in sustaining the development of fishery is that, firstly, there must be a renovation in forms of aquaculture toward intensive and industrial farming in order to push for higher productivity, without ignoring the protection of environment and ecology in the estuarine and coastal areas. Secondly, more investments are required for facilitating new equipment and modern techniques for further offshore fishing. Finally, more efforts must be made in upgrading the product values based on the renovation of current processing enterprises.

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