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Vietnamese aquaculture products from the Mekong Delta
Images of Vietnam bring to mind lush tropical forests and vibrant green rice paddies. The forest and paddies are fed by the plentiful precipitation of the rainy season, as well as multiple rivers. One such river, the Mekong, begins high in the Tibetan Plateau in China, then flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia as it continues its journey to Vietnam before emptying into the sea. For Vietnam, the importance of the Mekong river cannot be overstated. For centuries the Vietnamese have lived in harmony with the Mekong river, which serves the function not only of providing water for agriculture, but also as a natural highway for trade. In more recent times, the Mekong Delta has also proved to be ideal for aquaculture.
Popular Vietnamese aquaculture products from the Mekong Delta include pangasius, shrimp and the latest arrival tilapia. pangasius has gained a strong following globally. It is best known for its flakey white meat and mild flavor. There are two varieties of shrimp grown in the Mekong Delta: Giant Tiger Prawn (penaeus monodon) and Whiteleg Shrimp (penaeus vannamei). Nile tilapia aquaculture, while not new to Vietnam, is increasingly becoming an important species for both domestic consumption and exports. Certified aquaculture is embraced in Vietnam and responsible practices are implemented throughout the production chain. The result is a reduction of negative environmental and social impacts as well as providing stable economic livelihood for farmers and their families.
One example of impact reduction is the Mangroves and Markets initiative led by the Dutch organization SNV and the environmental NGO IUCN. This project has worked with the shrimp aquaculture sector in Ca Mau, Vietnam to protect mangroves forests. Mangroves and their unique root structure help to promote biodiversity and reduce erosion due to natural and manmade factors. Shrimp farmers were encouraged to adopt responsible practices with respect to mangroves and compliant farms were paid a premium for their shrimp. Since the project’s inception, shrimp farmers have assisted with the reforestation of over 80 hectares of mangroves and between 2013 and 2015, there has been an estimated increase in mangrove surface coverage in the project area of between 39% and 44% (based upon SPOT satellite imagery). The project is ongoing and continues to attract farmers.
So, whether you are seeking a mild flavored flakey white fleshed fish like pangasius and tilapia or would like to celebrate a special occasion with shrimp, look for certified aquaculture products from Vietnam at your retailer.