The Mekong Delta is the "food basket" of Vietnam, and is of significance both from a production (volume and economic) and livelihood view points. Vietnam is prone to extreme weather events. Cyclones regularly impact Vietnam raising sea levels and sending saline storm surges up estuaries. Flooding is also a common occurrence. Vietnam, particularly the Mekong delta is highly vulnerable to climate change especially extreme weather events.
Catfish farming on the Mekong Delta is one of the world's fastest growing aquaculture sectors and is Vietnam's largest aquaculture sector by both volume and value. Catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) is a freshwater fish native to the Mekong river system (including Vietnam) and is cultured almost entirely in deep earthen ponds at very high density. The catfish farming industry and associated industries contributes significantly to the livelihoods of the local population.
On 21 June 2009 the AquaClimate team held a vulnerability and adaption to climate change on catfish farming stakeholder workshop and focus group meeting in Can Tho, Vietnam. Stakeholders including catfish farmers in general expressed that climate change is a serious threat and needs to be addressed in an integrated manner. The main changes they observed were: shift in weather patterns, higher temperatures, early rains, floods, saline water intrusion and frequent typhoons. Suggestions from farmers to address extreme weather events included, producing good quality fry, developing new culture systems, building dykes, livelihood diversification, training and awareness workshops and financial support to farmers.
Sustaining catfish production in the Can Tho Province is crucial for the large number of farmers who are dependent on it for their livelihoods. Stakeholders are willing to co-operate to address future threats from climate change. The intention to co-operate may be strengthened by improving the existing institutional and policy frameworks.
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