The Vietnamese shrimp sector has expanded considerably over the past decade, but some issues such as overfishing, diseases, pollution, and forced labor are still to be fully solved. One option is to promote the use of artificial ponds, which allow for more control over water and climate.
Adoption of technologies such as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), which continuously filter and reuse water, is one development assisting the shrimp industry’s transition to artificial ponds. Environmentalists believe this technology is sustainable since it allows for greater output quantities with less wastewater and a decreased risk of ecosystem degradation. However, customers may have to accept higher prices, as some of the equipment requires large upfront investments, according to analysts.
Viet Uc, Vietnam’s largest hatchery, recently built a USD 17 million processing plant, becoming the country’s only fully integrated shrimp enterprise, handling everything from larva production to exporting grown shrimp. According to the corporation, the new production is 70% automated and spans 14 soccer fields. The new plant is the final phase in the company’s ambition to encompass the whole value chain of the sector.
Vietnam has more than 100,000 shrimp farms, many of which are small family businesses, contributing to frozen exports worth USD 2.3 billion in 2021, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Vietnam is the world’s third-largest exporter of frozen shrimp after India and Ecuador, but it has only recently begun to implement RAS, which are more efficient and require less groundwater pumping than traditional farms.
(Source: Nikkei Asia)