Publicly available data is available from universities/institutes such as the Research Institute for Aquaculture (RIA) 2 and Can Tho University; public reports from the Vietnam Pangasius Association (VINAPA) and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP); government sources, and certification organizations. Regulations concerning aquaculture management and national and local strategies are provided by the legal normative documents website (VBQPPL), the Directorate of Fisheries (DFISH), and provincial government departments.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD)’s Circular 14/2016/TT-BNNPTNT requires farms to be managed under a zonal approach, under which zones should be registered with the DAH of Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) to be certified disease-free (Vbqppl 2017)
MARD has developed an atlas to identify specific aquaculture production zones (MARD 2017).
According to the National Government’s Decree No. 59/2005/NĐ-CP, all farmers must hold a business license for aquaculture (Vbqppl 2017). Farms should be located according to local aquaculture planning standards and operate according to national aquaculture, veterinary, food safety and environmental protection standards detailed in the licensing procedure and associated registration forms.
Dong Thap has developed a provincial master plan for pangasius production focused on environmental protection, wastewater management, and benefits to local communities (Dong Thap PPC 2015). As a result, total pangasius production is predicted to reach 540,000 mt and 2000 hectares by 2020 (Thanh 2015).
In 2016, the Directorate of Environment submitted a final version of a Circular to guide the implementation of the National Assembly’s Law of Environment Protection No. 55/2014/QH13, regarding carrying capacity, allocation of wastewater discharge quotas, pollution correction, and necessary environmental improvements for polluted areas. This Circular is currently awaiting approval from the government and has not yet received an identification number.
Water Quality: According to the Law of Environment Protection No. 55/2014/QH13, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) is responsible for carrying capacity studies, identifying water quality and volume limits for discharge water and issuing guidance and corrective measures. At the provincial level, responsibility for these issues belongs to the Provincial People Committee (PPC). Under the National Government’s Decree No. 38/2015/NĐ-CP, the PPC is also required to publish details of water bodies that exceed their carrying capacity. From 2010-2013, RIA2 conducted a carrying capacity study for the Tien and Hau Rivers, the results of this research were used to develop a national pangasius production and planning strategy for each pangasius producing province to 2020 (Hung 2013).
Health Management: According to MARD’s Circular No. 17/2014/TT-BNNPTNT, the National Department of Animal Health (DAH) under MARD monitors the national implementation of aquatic health treatment and prevention plans, conducts training, and collaborates with local research institutes (such as RIA 2), universities (including Can Tho University, Nong Lam University), and international organizations (Vbqppl 2017).
MARD also provides advice and assistance in animal health, including forecasting animal disease and zoonotic outbreaks. DFISH also provides guidance on aquaculture planning and produces technical standards and requirements for aquaculture applications. In addition, the PPC and DARD and their lower levels (such as provincial departments of animal health and aquaculture agencies) are responsible for environmental and disease monitoring within their province.
Disease Control: DAH in collaboration with DFISH also provide guidance on the control of diseases. The DAH is also responsible for reporting outbreaks of animal disease to MARD as regulated by MARD’s Circular No. 17/2014/TT-BNNPTNT (Vbqppl 2017).
The Vietnam Directorate of Fishery (DFISH) is responsible for developing the master plan for pangasius production and national technical standards for aquaculture.
Water Quality: Pangasius production plans have been created for each district and commune in Dong Thap province. These are based on carrying capacity studies conducted in the Tien and Hau Rivers by RIA2 in 2010-2013 (Hung 2013). In December 2014, MARD approved Decision No. 5204 /QĐ-BNN-TCTS of DFISH concerning the environmental monitoring of shrimp, pangasius, tilapia and clam farms. The timeframe for this project is from 2015 2020. However, there is no publicly available information on the progress of this project (Fistenet 2014).
Health Management: A national disease prevention and treatment plan for pangasius have been introduced under MARD’s Decision No. 4995/QĐ-BNN-TY. The DAH has developed guidance No. 927/TY-TS in 2015 to implement this Decision. In March 2017, MARD approved the national plan of disease control plan for pangasius and shrimp for 2017 to 2020 in Decision No. 1038/QĐ-BNN-TY (Vbqppl 2017). Under this plan, the government and farmers are required to monitor disease and environment indicators, perform disease checks by spot-sampling, and collaborate on disease control (Vbqppl 2017).
Disease Control: The competent authorities responsible for the use of 1) chemicals in aquaculture and 2) veterinary drugs are identified - the DAH and the Department/Directorate of Fisheries and the DAH respectively (ASEAN Secretariat 2013). The use of chemicals and drugs is regulated by MARD under Decision 10/2007/QĐ-BTS which includes a list of approved chemicals (Vbqppl 2017).
Water Quality: MARD’s Circular 44/2010/TT-BNNPTNT and National Technical Standards QCVN 02-20:2014/BNNPTNT regulate pangasius production sites to ensure food safety and set in-pond and discharge water quality limits (Vbqppl 2017). MONRE’s Circular 36/2015/TT-BTNMT and the national government’s Decree No. 38/2015/NĐ-CP regulate toxic waste management (Vbqppl 2017). Water quality criteria for different types of public waterbodies are also described in MARD’s Circular 44/2010/TT-BNNPTNT and have been incorporated into VietGAP standards. Annex 3B. VietGAP Criteria. No. 2.1 and 4.2.2 outline in-pond water quality and wastewater quality respectively.
Health Management: Limits to stocking density are set by MARD’s Circular 44/2010/TT-BNNPTNT and National Technical Standards QCVN 02-20:2014/BNNPTNT. Under VietGAP, farms must comply with the existing regulations and have a fish health plan written by a fish health specialist or a veterinarian.
Disease Control: The use of the antibiotics nitrofuran, chloramphenicol, dimetridazole/metronidazole and enrofloxacin; the disinfectant, malachite green, and cypermethrin; the chemotherapeutant, trichlorfon; and the piscicide deltamethrin are prohibited (ASEAN Secretariat 2013). VASEP summarizes multiple MARD Circulars concerning the use of chemicals, antibiotics, and bioproducts - and has produced lists of chemicals and antibiotics banned for use in fishery production and trading and for veterinary use. Restricted chemicals and antibiotics - including maximum residue levels (MRL) are also identified (VASEP 2014).
Industry and Management Performance
Despite the previous requirement under MARD’s National Decree 36/2014/NĐ-CP and Circular No. 23/2014/TT-BNNPTTN for all farms to be VietGAP (or another international standard) certified by 2015, only 40 out of 530 farms are certified to VietGAP standards in Dong Thap (VietGAP 2016). The total area currently under certification by all schemes (ASC, GAA, GlobalG.A.P, and VietGAP) is around 642 hectares, representing about 50% of total production area (H.T 2016).
VietGAP requirements have now been postponed and MARD's Decree 36/2014/NĐ-CP has been replaced by Decree 55/2017/NĐ-CP (Vbqppl 2017).
Water Quality: According to government media reports, despite various environmental regulations, farms in Dong Thap still discharge untreated wastewater. This is adversely affecting agricultural communities in Tam Nong and Hong Ngu Districts (Dong Thap PPC 2016)(T.T 2016). However, it should be noted that pollution in the lower Mekong basin is due to multiple factors, such as intensive agricultural activities, industrial and municipal waste.
Health Management: Disease remains the most important issue for pangasius production in Vietnam. The most common is the bacterial disease, Enteric Septicemia, (ESC) caused by Edwardsiella ictaluri (Crumlish et al. 2002). This disease can result in mortalities of fingerlings up to 90% (Thanh Cong, 2015). According to Circular 38/2012/TT-BNNPTNT, outbreaks of this disease must be reported (Vbqppl 2017).
General data on mortality rates are not available for Dong Thap. However, for the Mekong Delta, mortality was typically up to 30% during the early to mid-stages of production and less than 10% in later stages, mainly as the result of disease and poor weather conditions(Halls and Johns 2013).
Disease Control: Farms owned by companies have qualified fish health specialists. However, most small-scale farmers rely on their own experience and use of chemical/drugs for disease control measures. The European Commission’s (EC) Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) includes six notifications (from 2015 onwards) of border rejections, alerts or information for attention concerning the presence of nitrofurans in pangasius product from Vietnam (classified as serious). It should be noted that the province that this product comes from is not stated (European Commission 2018).
Trends in Performance
Water Quality: Government media reports claim that pollution from farms is a major issue in Hong Ngu, Thanh Binh districts and has a negative impact on local communities (THVL 2017)(VTV9 2017).
Health Management: Water exchange is the most commonly used disease prevention measure. ESC was first detected in intensive pangasius ponds in Vietnam in 1998 and now affects several Mekong Delta provinces, including An Giang, Dong Thap and Can Tho (Thanh 2015).
Disease Control: ESC may be treated with antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals, but recent reports suggest that resistance to treatment is increasing (Thanh and Berntsen 2012). Almost all (97.5 %) strains of E. ictaluri are now resistant to commonly used treatments (trimethoprim, oxytetracycline, and streptomycin) and there is reduced sensitivity to flumequine, oxolinic and acid and enrofloxacin (Thanh and Berntsen 2012). According to the E. C’s RASFF portal, from 2008-2014, there were several notifications concerning the detection of prohibited veterinary drugs (nitrofurans) in pangasius from Vietnam – all of which took place in 2014, were classified as serious, and resulted in border rejections (European Commission 2018).
MARD and MONRE have regional sub-departments such as Dong Thap DONRE and DARD. In addition, DAH, DFISH, Sub DAH and other aquaculture agencies at the provincial level are collaborating to regulate the industry. Companies such as Vinh Hoan, Hung Vuong & Hung Ca are collaborating with VASEP and the government to review and develop industry regulations and aquaculture plans that include zonal management (Thanh 2015).
In 2015, Dong Thap PPC approved pangasius production areas until 2020 with a vision to 2030. According to the Dong Thap PPC’s Decision No.1046/QĐ-UBND.HC, the industry intends to comply with food safety regulations, environmental protection, and disease control standards.
Water Quality: The government is currently working with the industry to improve the impact of wastewater under cooperation between SCAP/IPSARD, DARD, IDH and Vinh Hoan.
Health Management: The Southern Centre for Agricultural Policy (SCAP) - a division of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), Dong Thap DARD, IDH, and Vinh Hoan are developing a public-private zone management improvement project in order to reduce disease risk in in Dong Thap province (N.N. 2015).
Disease Control: A disease prevention and treatment plan for pangasius from 2015 to 2020 has been included in MARD’s Decision No. 4995/QĐ-BNN-TY (Vbqppl 2017). The DAH has developed guidance No. 927/TY-TS in 2015 to implement this national plan (Vbqppl 2017).
In order to improve traceability and the planning of production and to comply with MARD’s Decree No. 55/2017/NĐ-CP (which replaced Decree No. 36/2014/NĐ-CP), farms require an individual identification code. As of May 2016, around 98% of farms have been coded in Dong Thap (representing approximately 1,434 ha) (H.T 2016).