- The total marine fish catch in Vietnam continues to rise, as well as the
proportion of the biomass of trash fish in the total catch. This is due to
overfishing. However, the quality of trash fish is usually poor because of
inadequate preservation on board ship.
- There has been a dramatic recent rise in the use of trash fish in aquaculture
with the development of marine cage culture of grouper and lobster, and the
expansion of freshwater culture of river catfish in cages, ponds and pens.
- The availability of trash fish as a direct feed is likely to restrict the
future expansion of aquaculture as supplies are finite, as indicated by a
recent doubling of the price of trash fish.
- There are conflicting uses for trash fish for livestock feed, fish sauce
and direct human food as well as for a direct aquaculture feed and fish meal
manufacture in some areas. Traditional small-scale pig rearing uses trash
fish but large-scale pig farming uses agro-industrial formulated feed containing
fish meal. The national demand for fish sauce is predicted to double over
the next decade. Some species previously considered as trash fish are now
being used as human food fish because of developments in processing technology.
- Fish powder produced in a traditional artisanal way by sun drying and grinding
is mainly used to feed livestock.
- Fish meal produced domestically, using an industrial process in which raw
materials are cooked before being dried, is mostly of poor quality because
trash fish is degraded by the time it reaches the fish meal plant. It is used
by feed mills to produce feed for livestock and some grow-out feed for freshwater
- Fish offal from processing may be used in fish meal manufacture when trash
fish is in short supply, but it can only be used up to 5 - 20 percent of total
ingredients as its protein content is too low and its ash/calcium content
- At least 90 percent of fish meal is imported to meet the rapidly growing
demand caused mainly by the development of aquaculture. Fish oil is not produced
locally in industrial fish meal production and is also imported. Future demand
for fish meal is expected to increase dramatically as an ingredient in industrial
- As the prospects for increased production of quality fish meal (and fish
oil) do not look promising, the future development of Vietnamese aquaculture
will be strongly influenced by the availability and price of fish meal (and
fish oil) on the international market.
- Although high value marine species such as grouper, lobster and shrimp
may be able to compete for fish meal on the international market, this is
unlikely to be the case for freshwater river catfish and tilapia. The latter
will need to be fed increasing amounts of plant-based proteins, including
possibly defatted rice bran.
ASIA-PACIFIC FISHERY COMMISSION
Office for Asia and the Pacific
39 Phra Athit Road, Bangkok,