Many farmers in the southern province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu are breeding Pacific oysters since they have a high survival rate and steady demand in the market.
Nguyễn Văn Mãnh, who has bred them since 2015 in Long Sơn Commune in Vũng Tàu city and now has 100 cages of them, said he harvests 2.5 – 3 tonnes a month and sells them at VNĐ25,000 – 50,000 (US$1.1 -2.2) a kilo to earn nearly VNĐ100 million ($4,300).
To breed them, farmers have to buy oyster spat, which are already attached to materials such as old shells. Pacific oysters offer stable yields compared to indigenous varieties. Farmers who breed the latter only buy settlement materials and let the oyster seeds in the wild attach to them, meaning the harvest depends on nature. Pacific oysters can be harvested after for five to six months while indigenous oysters take 12-16 months.
Nguyễn Công Biên of Long Sơn Commune said he buys Pacific oyster seed from Vũng Tàu City’s Ward 12 and Khánh Hòa Province for cultivation. The cost of buying the seeds which are already attached to materials like old shells cost more than VNĐ110 million ($4,740) for his 19 cages. But farmers only need to make floating cages after that and do not need to buy food since the oysters eat natural food. They are highly resistant to diseases and are little affected by polluted water. “Pacific oysters are preferred by many farmers and highly valued for their quality,” Biên said.
Long Sơn has around 40 households breeding the crustaceans on a total area of 26ha. Lê Xuân Tú, chairman of the Long Sơn People’s Committee, said local farmers breed the oysters since they are sure of their origin. Farming the oyster involves high initial investment but their survival rate is high and the technique is environment-friendly, he said.
In Long Điền District’s Phước Tỉnh Commune, some 70 households breed the oysters on more than 30ha near the Cửa Lấp and Thị Vải rivers. They buy most of the oyster seeds from Khánh Hòa Province since the supply in Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu cannot meet their demand.
Nguyễn Hữu Thi, head of the province Fisheries Sub-department’s aquaculture management division, said the sub-department encourages aquaculture farmers to breed Pacific oysters because of the huge potential.
Farming it is environment-friendly compared to indigenous oysters and improves farmers’ incomes, he said.The province’s output is mostly consumed in the southern region.