Talking about seafood processing factories in Phu Yen province, people can't forget the famous names such as Hong Ngoc Private Enterprise, Nguyen Hung Co. Ltd, Ba Hai Joint Stock Company. After a short time of mass development, there is only Hong Ngoc Company can remain specialized in processing tuna products for export. Other enterprises have gradually withdrawn, even Ba Hai JSC which has many years of conducting CAS preservation technology to improve the quality of tuna products.
Mr. Le Van Hong (right), Director of Ba Hai JSC, introduced to Mr. Huynh Tan Viet, Deputy Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, on CAS technology for preservation of ocean tuna and lobster
The question is whether seafood processing enterprises will be able to retain the same products in the face of the declining supply of raw materials in recent years?
A delegation of Vietnam Seacul- ture Association (VSA) recently visited the Ba Hai JSC - a new member of the Association. Mr. Le Van Hong, Chairman and Director of the company, welcomed the delegation at the headquarters in Hoa Hiep Industrial Park, Dong Hoa district, Phu Yen province. We discussed on tuna processing or other seafood that are around the topic of the aquaculture and the use of marine products.
Mr. Hong said: "Previously, to process and export, our company bought mainly crabs and tuna from wild catches. In recent years, raw tuna have not been stable and not enough for processing, wild crabs have also been caught too much. The supply of raw materials for the plant became more and more difficult, although we bought crabs from Kien Giang and Ca Mau provinces".
Possibly, the use of trash fish and small seefood species, including young ones, as feeds for aquaculture has invisibly encouraged fishermen to fish more, keep all the catches onboard for utilization of low economically catches for aquaculture purposes. This may lead to the fishery resources rapidly decreased and difficully restored, and disrupt the marine food chain, negatively impact marine ecosystems
Mr. Le Van Hong and Pacific oyster netcages at his oyster breeding facility
Being aware of these difficulties, Ba Hai Company has been actively carying out researches on marine farming to actively ensure the raw materials for seafood processing plant of the company. Mr. Hong said: "Without aquaculture, there will be no products, not enought input materials for processing enterprises. Therefore, the company must associate with aquaculture operations. At present, the company has two seafood processing plants with relatively high production capacity, while raw material from fishing industry is limited. Our company now cannot specialize purely in processing crabs and tunas as before".
He also shared the story about the operation of the company: "Our business has gone through many ups and downs in the field of seafood processing. Currently, the company has about 500 workers, a small number of those workers participated in research activities, marine aquaculture (whiteleg shrimp, Pacific oysters, soft-shell crabs), and long-term orientation will process products from aquaculture".
He affirmed: "Vietnam has vast areas of lagoons, bays, islands in open sea, it has great potential for aquaculture. Vietnam should approach the intergrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) to take advantage of the sea and at the same time to improve, protect the marine environment’.'
The company has registered two projects on hatchering and farming Pacific oysters and softshell crabs, with funding from the State budget. The company started to produce Pacific oyster seeds in 2018 and successfully bred about 10 million seeds, provided free of charge to 15 local aquaculture households as the required by the project.
Mr. Hong said:"Currently, the price of Pacific oysters in the domestic market is also quite good, for instance, it costs about 30,000 VND/kg raw oyster sized 12 individuals per kg. With this price, farming Pacific oyster is profitable. If these projects are successful, in the near future, the company will buy Pacific oyster and soft-shell crabs in the local for processing and export!"
To make oyster hatchery station and conduct other research and experiments, the company has leased a land area of 4,000 square meters for 20 years. There are 8 employees working in this area. Besides producing the oyster seeds, the company is also carying out studies on farming white leg shrimp with high density in the indoor concrete tanks. Initially, shrimp farming productivity is about 3.5 kg/m2, although this result isn't as good as expected.
Mr Hong is a typical businessman who dares to think, dares to do. He is expected to develop the value chain for seafood products originated from aquaculture industry. He said: "Soft-shell crabs, Pacific oysters have a significant potential to process and export. The direction of our business is to develop the seaproducts from sustainable, responsible, managed, planned and certified marine aquaculture".
High-density shrimp culture tank
He further suggested that: "The aquaculture needs to be industrialized to reduce the cost of production. Thus our products compete well with the products from other countries. It also needs to establish farmed seafood supply chains to ensure the strong connections within relevant actors along the chains, for examples, within critical actors such as farmers, seafood buyers, seafood processors and traders".
We believe that led by a man who is enthusiastic in promoting sustainable, well managed and certified mariculture as Mr. Hong, clearly identifiying its orientation and the way forward, detailled works being done and planned to be done, the Ba Hai company will definitely get success in the near future even facing tso many difficulties.
However, its surely needed to have close linkages, willingness of relevant stakeholders in the farmed seafood supply chain, uzing good management practices for meeting internationall standards to ensure sustainable development and matching high-demanding premium markets.
By Nguyen Ba Thong
Dieu Tu Compiled
Nguyen Ba Thong Coordinator
Vietnam Marine Science and Technology Center (SSTC) Vietnam Seaculture Association (VSA)
Bachelor in AquacultureMaster in International Fisheries Management