Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina has told aquaculture technical officers to prepare the hatchling of various species of fish and distribute them to farmers to promote the growth of home aquaculture and reduce their reliance on natural fishing in the Mekong River.

Tina emphasised the importance of imparting fish hatching techniques to farmers in order for them to acquire these necessary skills so they can contribute to conserving fish resources in the upper Mekong River, known as their spawning site.

During his recent visit to the upper Mekong Aquatic Research and Production Centre in Sam Khuy village in Stung Treng province’s Sesan district, Tina expressed the need for officials at the centre to ramp up fish breeding production.

He stressed the importance of systematically preparing fish breeders and implementing high yields to meet market demands. Additionally, he revealed his intention to provide financial support to selected fish farmers, enabling them to explore fish farming as a viable business opportunity.

In addressing the challenges of fish farming, Tina highlighted the significance of investing in the industry to assess its potential profitability and to develop effective farming systems. He proposed three options to address this matter: investing in fish farming individually, establishing a partnership with a private entity, or collaborating with a private partner. The minister urged Stung Treng governor Svay Sam Eang to seek private investors for the growth and development of the sector, emphasing the importance of policy formulation at the provincial level.

Sam Eang affirmed the province’s commitment to creating appropriate aquaculture sites to enhance fish breeding and provide quality juvenile fish to farmers. He described this strategy as a means to bolster the aquaculture sector, presenting farmers with greater opportunities for success.

The governor highlighted the presence of modern and standardised aquaculture facilities in Stung Treng, enabling technical officers to utilise their expertise to achieve desired goals and contribute to the growth of the agricultural sector.

Bun Rasy, head of the Stung Treng Mekong Aquatic Research and Production Centre, said the facility has successfully raised over 10 species of fish including African catfish, Asian red tailed catfish, tilapia, bighead walking catfish (Clarias macrocephalus), pra (Pangasius djambal), po (Pangasius Larnaudii), kae (Pangasius conchophilus), prolung (Leptobarbus hoeveni), chhpin (Hypsibarbus lagleri), kranh (Anabas testudineus), and Kahae (barbonymus schwanenfeldii).

Currently, catfish and tilapia are the two main species being sold to fish farmers in Stung Treng and other provinces as per demand. The diversity of available fish species demonstrates the centre’s commitment to meet the needs of local fish farmers and promote sustainable aquaculture practices. To further enhance the hatchery centre’s capacity in breeding various species, Tina also announced a financial allocation of $10,000.

The centre comprises 24 ponds, including a large fish stock pond, juvenile fish ponds, breeding fish ponds, fish meat ponds and a wastewater pond. The funding will enable officials at the hatchery centre to breed more species, contributing to the expansion and sustainability of aquaculture practices in the region.