Measures needed to promote sustainable spiny lobster farming in Vietnam

by NDO20 May 2020 Last updated at 19:52 PM

VTV.vn - Vietnam is aiming to raise the output of its spiny lobster farming industry to 3,000 tonnes by 2025, bringing in an export revenues of US$200 million, under a draft plan by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It is expected that key farming regions that meet environmental, disease, food safety and labour standards will be established in nine central coastal provinces, namely Quang Binh, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan.

Currently spiny lobster farming is one of the main sources of income for Vietnam’s central coastal region. Khanh Hoa Province, for example, boasts 50,000 farming cages with an annual output of 1,500 tonnes.

But recently the industry has faced numerous challenges as Vietnam has yet to be able to produce juveniles and the feeding requires fresh food. At the same time, the traditional wooden cages are unable to withstand stronger waves, the environment is being degraded and the market is facing a great deal of difficulty due to the heavy reliance on exporting through unofficial channels.

The key factors to spiny lobster farming are proactively securing juveniles and preventing diseases. But to date Vietnam has been unable to produce juveniles in captivity. In Khanh Hoa Province, local residents must dive under the water to harvest juvenile lobsters, which are just a little bigger than a toothpick, and raise them. The natural stock is unstable and cannot meet the long-term farming requirements.

Another problem is the milky haemolymph disease in spiny lobster, to which farmers virtually must give in and the infected lobsters are bound to die. It is apparent that Vietnam’s scientific level has yet to meet the needs of spiny lobster farming. Therefore, it is necessary to further boost research so as to address the issues of broodstock and disease prevention for spiny lobsters.

The market for spiny lobster is also a great challenge. The majority of Vietnam’s spiny lobsters are exported live to China and Singapore, of which a large amount are traded through unofficial channels, resulting in unstable prices and revenue.

There were even times when spiny lobsters in Khanh Hoa Province could not find any buyers. In addition, some farmers failed to follow instructions by the authorities and grew spiny lobster without planning, so their products did not meet the standards to be exported to demanding markets.

Therefore, in the time ahead, the functional authorities should promptly introduce measures to increase the share of spiny lobster exports through official channels, and expand the domestic market as part of a long-term plan for the spiny lobster farming industry. It is also important to forge a link between lobster farmers and enterprises in the chain from production to export.


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