USSEC is working to increase the usage of U.S. soybean meal through aquafeed for offshore cage aquaculture in Vietnam.
In September, USSEC Aquaculture Technical Manager - Northern Vietnam Bui Ngoc Thanh visited a pompano offshore cage farm, which is experimental and belongs to Research Institute for Aquaculture No1. The experimental offshore cage is one of three offshore cage farms in Van Phong Bay, Van Ninh district, Khanh Hoa province. The farm has 20 circle cages (60 meters in diameter), growing pompano for the export and domestic markets. Normally, 20,000 pompano fingerlings are stocked in one circle cage and are harvested after 8 to 10 months at a market size of 500 g/pcs. Currently, the farm harvests about 200 tons of pompano annually. Expenses include feed (50-60%), fingerlings (10%), and investment costs (10-15%). The profit of pompano offshore cages is generally about 15 to 20%.
“Van Phong Bay is one of the best locations for offshore cage culture in Vietnam and [other] Asian countres as well,” says Mr. Pham Duc Phuong, farm manager. “There [will] be many companies investing in offshore cage farming in the coming year once Khanh Hoa province becomes a specialized economic area.”
Pompano is the most suitable species for offshore cage farming. Expanding offshore cage farming via pompano would demand a huge usage of U.S. soybean meal in marine aquaculture.
Total pompano production is currently about 2000 tons; however, there is great potential in the near future, especially as Vietnam issued fisheries law and marine aquaculture strategy in 2019.