Northern Vietnam has various reservoirs being used for aquaculture development. Thac Ba reservoir in Yen Bai province is one of Vietnam’s three largest reservoirs with 19,000 ha of water surface area, making it a good potential site for aquaculture development. The local government has a strategy to financially support aquaculture development in this area.
In June 2019, 2 large enterprises, 5 collectives, and 11 unions together with 300 households were involved in aquaculture activity at Thac Ba reservoir. There were 1,345 fish cages obtaining 7,500 tons of fish in 2018. In 2019, the number of cages is increasing to 1,750 cages and aquaculture production is estimated at about 8,000 tons.
T&T is the largest enterprise and was the earliest involved in fish farming in Thac Ba reservoir. In 2019-2020, their plan is to produce 346 tons of fish annually, including 224 tons of tilapia, 48 tons of red tilapia, and 42 tons of carp using 54 circle cages. As they look to the export market, T&T intends to increase their farming areas up to 350 circle cages and produce at least 5,000 tons annually for its processing plant.
“Fish from farming in an earthen pond does not meet the requirements for the export market due to the mud smell - that is a big challenge for Vietnam’s tilapia exports,” explains Tran Ngoc Thu, T&T Director. “Reservoir cage farming totally meets the requirements for exporting due to water quality. Thus, T&T will focus on tilapia exports with an annual production of at least 5,000 tons in the first stage of development with a processing plant that would make T&T the first enterprise to process and export tilapia in Northern Vietnam.
Good quality fish produced from cage farming in Thac Ba reservoir will be sufficient for export market requirement. Once quality fish is produced, the demand of aquafeed will significantly increase, which will require high quality U.S. soymeal.