Clam farming in Go Cong, Tien Giang province
Dignitaries present at the event included provincial authorities, the Go Cong Dong People's Committee, representatives from OXFAM, ICAFIS, RECERD as the consultant, Control Union as the certification agency, and key stakeholders such as local clam farmers and export clam processors from Tien Giang and neighboring provinces, including prominent entities like Lenger Seafood, Beseaco, Song Tien, Ngoc Ha, and Go Dang.
The ASC Certification serves as a testament to the conscientious approach to aquaculture in the region, ensuring not only the sustainability of practices but also minimizing adverse impacts on the environment, ecosystems, and local communities. The clam, a cornerstone aquatic product alongside shrimp, pangasius, and tilapia in Vietnam, enjoys popularity in global markets such as Europe, America, Japan, Malaysia, and Australia. The development of clam farming not only optimizes coastal tidal flat areas but also generates employment opportunities for approximately 200,000 workers.
Tien Giang, recognized as one of the clam-developed provinces in Vietnam, has seen a long history of clam farming, particularly in Go Cong Dong district since before 1975. Recognizing the sector's potential in 1990, the Tien Giang Provincial People's Committee divided farming areas into plots, contracting them to local households and the Go Cong Dong Sand Dune Management Board to safeguard and foster clam farming.
Clam farming in the Go Cong coastal area of Tien Giang province has been a significant contributor to the local economy, creating jobs for thousands of workers and solving many socio-economic issues. However, the industry has faced several challenges, including climate change, epidemics, unstable prices, and income, especially during the global economic recession.
To address these issues and enhance the value and brand of Tien Giang clam products, the Provincial People’s Committee issued Decision 3652/QD-UBND in 2011, which implemented the scientific and technological project of “Building the clam (Meretrix lyrata) management and production area in Go Cong, Tien Giang according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards”. Since 2018, the MSC clam program in Tien Giang province has been supported by the “Sustainable and comprehensive development of the clam value chain in Vietnam” project, funded by the European Union, the International Cooperation Center for Sustainable Aquaculture and Fisheries (ICAFIS), and OXFAM Organization in Vietnam. Despite these efforts, the industry has experienced mass deaths of clams due to climate change, environmental impacts, and strong salinity changes in recent years. Fluctuations in clam broodstock resources and clam seeds have also hindered the MSC certification application.
OXFAM and ICAFIS have certified the sustainable aquaculture of the Tien Giang clam industry with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification. ASC certification is recognized by many markets worldwide, including Europe, America, and Japan, and allows for the allocation of planned density and production, making it more suitable for the clam industry in Tien Giang province than Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. OXFAM and ICAFIS have agreed to continue supporting the Tien Giang clam industry to apply for ASC certification, creating opportunities for small-scale producers to start integration.
|According to statistics, Tien Giang province now has 350 hectares of ASC-certified clam farming grounds in Tan Thanh commune, Go Cong Dong district, marking a noteworthy achievement by local clam farmers.
Since the fourth quarter of 2022, the Vietnamese clam and seafood industry, along with the world fisheries, has faced various challenges arising from the global economic recession, including a sharp decline in market demand, a sharp drop in clam and aquatic prices, and increasing requirements in importing countries. The ASC certification of the Tien Giang clam industry is a great joy for clam farmers and the province, and it is also a boost to revive the industry during this time of economic decline. It helps enhance the value, image, and especially the competitiveness of Vietnamese clam products in the international market.