Russian sturgeon specimen. (Photo Credit: WAZA)
Sturgeon breeding burgeons in mountainous regions
Thursday, June 06, 2013, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
Russian sturgeon has begun to be bred successfully in Vietnam’s north mountainous regions and the highland provinces.
In 2008, fish farmers were able to breed Russian sturgeon in the Da Mi hydropower reservoir in Vietnam’s central province of Binh Thuan next to the highland province of Lam Dong. It was a spectacular achievement given that it takes 8-10 years for the fish to grow to weigh 15 kg in Russia but it takes only 4-5 years in Vietnam for it to grow to that size.
Le Anh Duc, Chairman of Vietnam Sturgeon Group, believes it is because of Vietnam’s warmer weather.
Further, breeding sturgeon in highly controlled environment in fresh water means that farmed caviar can be of as good quality as that from sturgeon growing in the wild in Russia’s Caspian or Lagoda Lake, SGGP reports.
Now, Tam Long Da Mi Company, operating under the Vietnam Sturgeon Group, raised over 200 tonnes of sturgeon in 200 facilities. It was so successful that it even injected USD 14 million into building labs, freezers and processing factories to advance the operations.
What’s more, the Group built more breeding facilities in the central province of Binh Dinh, the highlands province of Dak Lak and the northern province of Son La.
At present, 1,000 tonnes of sturgeon flesh are consumed every year in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi. Le Anh Duc said the price will be lower in a few years when more people begin breeding the animal in mountainous regions.
Even so, breeders understand that the goal is to tell the caviar, not the flesh: white caviar goes for USD 1,700 per kg, Siberi caviar for USD 2,800 a kg, Kaluga for USD 5,800 a kg and Russian caviar for USD 12,000 a kg.
In 2012, the Group harvested around 1 ton of caviar, which barely covered some domestic five-star restaurants, and now has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with France and Russia to sell them black caviar by late 2013 or mid-2014.
Meanwhile, some experts have stressed that Chinese sturgeons have begun to flood the Vietnamese market, as this could eradicate the Vietnamese sturgeon farming industry, VietNamNet Bridge reports.
By Natalia Real