"Everyone in this area earned a decent living from natural scallops. We were so busy fishing and selling scallops and made so much money that we did not notice as they were disappearing..." - said Truong Dinh Nhi, Tuy Phong district, Binh Thuan province.
Mr. Nhi is one of thousands of farmers in the Southern coastal province Binh Thuan that participate in the natural Scallop restoration programme supported by SNV, through the UKAid-funded Vietnam Business Challenge Fund (VBCF). They have just finished the third scallop fingerling stocking and are anxious about the first harvest of last year's fingerlings in a few weeks. Scallops are coming back to the region.
Scallop is a high market value sea food, which is one of key export products of Binh Thuan province. There is an increasing demand for scallop in the both domestic and international markets. Scallops are mainly exported to Japan, Europe and the US markets with a growth rate as high as 30%.
Binh Thuan province is well known for its seafood products. However, the scallop natural resources have been degrading due to unsustainable fishing practices which jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of households in the area. The volume of scallop has decreased by 5 to 10 times over the past 10 years.
With support from SNV-managed VBCF, Hai Nam Seafood Company has developed a business model that addresses this market opportunity and contributes to recovering scallop natural source in Binh Thuan sea. It works with various stakeholders on engaging low-income populations in the management, protection and sustainable exploitation of scallops. It builds up a stable supply base through fishermen’s self-managed groups to ensure the quantity and quality of inputs. MSC certification will also be pursued to ensure sustainable resource management to international standards. This is the first time in Vietnam scallop fingerlings is produced and spread to the sea at a large scale.
Commercially, the Company can ensure sustainable material supply area to meet increasing demand in in both domestic and international markets, hence generate its stable profits.
Socially, this inclusive business model creates jobs and income for more than 500 fishing households in the area. It also helps improve safety of scallop divers in the area.
Environmentally, this business will have positive impact on the environment as the communities will be trained in controlling destructive fishing practices, and restoring natural scallop resources in the area. It is the first time in Vietnam that a community-based resource management model is applied. The success of this model will pave the way for many similar initiatives to come not only in Binh Thuan, but in other coastal areas of the country.