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Ca Mau: Economic development from the model of aquaculture in the mangroves

From the Mangroves is just playing the role of protection, preventing coastal erosion and balancing the natural environment, the people of Ca Mau province know how to take advantage of the water surface of the mangrove forest to raise aquatic species.

Ca Mau has a total area of mangrove forest of 35,000 ha, it is concentrated in the districts of Dam Doi, Nam Can, Ngoc Hien, Phu Tan, U Minh and Tran Van Thoi, but the most in two districts of Nam Can and Ngoc Hien.

According to scientists, mangroves are habitats and natural breeding grounds for aquatic species. It has the role of providing food, shelter, and nurturing young of many valuable aquatic species, especially shrimp, crab, fish, and molluscs. Fallen matter (leaves, branches, buds, flowers, fruits) of mangrove trees are decomposed by microorganisms into organic humus which is a source of food for aquatic species, shade trees and roots. The forest is home to many aquatic species. Therefore, mangroves are an indispensable component of natural ecosystems, they help protect species against the influence of tides, storms and provide a suitable living environment for them. larvae of fish species. In addition, it also plays an important role as a CO2 refinery, contributing to reducing the effects of greenhouse gases and reducing the impact of climate change.

Mangroves also regulate the microclimate in the region, making the air cooler, reducing the maximum temperature and temperature range, helping to limit water evaporation. Thanks to the active activities of groups of beneficial bacteria, phytoplankton and forest root systems, the mangrove land has helped to make the water source for shrimp farming more stable. With the function of treating clean water, mangroves have been considered as nature’s giant kidneys that filter wastes for the environment.

According to the Fisheries Extension Center under the Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, last the years, there have been over 400 households raising aquatic products in the mangroves, earning an income of 100 million VND/year/household  or more. Therefore, Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has encouraged people to produce according to this model.

With the advantage of a rich and diverse mangrove ecosystem, many international organizations have come to survey and learn to include in projects to develop sustainable natural forests for the land of Ca Mau.

Research by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) states that, in the past 30 years, Vietnam has lost half of its mangrove area, mainly due to the expansion of rice areas and the digging of shrimp ponds. NGOs have invested in many projects to contribute to the sustainable development of both shrimp and forests, including Ca Mau province.

In 2013, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) implemented the MAM (Mangrove Forest Restoration Project, Based on Sustainable Shrimp Farming and Emission Reduction). ). This project has taught people living in the mangrove area of Ca Mau province how to produce organic shrimp, both to increase income and to help protect the ecosystem under the forest canopy. So far, the MAM project has ended and achieved positive results, but the people here continue to pursue this sustainable economic development.

In addition, SNV also invested more than 1 million USD to implement the shrimp farming model to improve the livelihoods of shrimp farming households, encourage responsible farming households and certify the market for maintaining the forest ecosystem. coastal mangroves through the association with Minh Phu Fisheries Group Joint Stock Company, Nhung Mien Forest Management Board (Ngoc Hien district). Connecting farmers with processing enterprises and buyers through groups and groups for certification, sharing experiences, supporting to improve the efficiency of households’ models through technical support studies on density. level of rearing, food, seed.

Mr. Richard McNally, Global Coordinator of the REDD+ Program (Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) said: “This project is not only looking to introduce sustainable production, but also to support local farmers. communities and local businesses, but also to reduce the impact on the area of mangroves Because mangroves play an important role in climate change adaptation; forest mitigation, conservation and restoration are also important. for future prosperity in Ca Mau province”.

Efficient and sustainable economic development

From the advantages of mangrove forests, it is possible to combine shrimp farming under the forest canopy with the rate of 60% of the forest area, 40% of the shrimp stocking area with low density, natural shrimp feed, etc. The shrimp processing and exporting industry has joined hands to make this positive transformation.

According to Mr. Le Minh Ty, residing in Tam Hiep hamlet, Rach Goc town, Ngoc Hien district, said that even in the mangrove forest, many households in Ngoc Hien district learned how to dig ponds, release black tiger shrimp, and develop the economy. By raising shrimp in mangroves, farmers only have to pay the cost of buying shrimp seed, or self-fertile shrimp, without the cost of shrimp feed. The shrimp often lives in the roots of mangroves, clings to the roots, eats moss, and grows from there.

Therefore, shrimp raised in mangrove forests grow healthy, with few diseases, and are safe for consumers because of the forest ecosystem. Ca Mau people now have the symbol “shrimp hugging the mangrove tree” which is the model of raising clean shrimp, large ecological shrimp naturally in the mangrove forest.

Last the years, Ca Mau province has actively developed the area of organic shrimp and forest ecological shrimp to 17,000 ha; in which, the area of ASC certified forest ecological shrimp (European Aquaculture Stewardship Council) is 1,200 ha. It is expected that the ASC-certified forest shrimp production area will be 10,000 hectares by 2025, said Tran Van Thuc, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Through a survey of farmers raising wild shrimp and organic shrimp in Ca Mau, it can be seen that the income of households receiving afforestation and shrimp farming is increasing, and their lives are developing. Mr. Vu Thanh Chung, who lives in Ngoc Hien district, shared that his family has 5 hectares of ecological shrimp farming area. After each harvest period, all of his family’s shrimp are purchased by Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company. After deducting the cost of seeds and harvesting, the family earns a profit of 200 million VND/year.

Mr. Chau Cong Bang, Deputy Director of Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: SNV’s project will support the development of forest-shrimp production in the production chain with a high sense of responsibility between the parties from the people. Producers, forest owners, enterprises purchasing and processing for export under the support of the State and non-governmental organizations. The project will ensure sustainable development, improve living standards of people in forest areas, and protect and promote forest resources well.

Thuy Linh – reporter



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