EX­OTIC BUT TOXIC

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Author­i­ties in the Mekong Delta are mon­i­tor­ing the il­le­gal breed­ing of craw­fish, which has caused se­ri­ous damage to crops and shrimp.

HCM CITY — Author­i­ties in the Cöûu Long (Mekong) Delta prov­ince of Ñoàng Thaùp will con­tinue to closely mon­i­tor the il­le­gal breed­ing of craw­fish, which has caused se­ri­ous damage to crops in the area.

Con­sid­ered an ex­otic in­va­sive species in Vieät Nam, craw­fish are banned from im­port by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment’s Aqua­cul­ture Gen­eral Of­fice.

Author­i­ties learned about the craw­fish breed­ing af­ter lo­cal res­i­dents re­ported see­ing them in a pond on a farmer’s field in Taân Hoäi Trung Com­mune in Cao Laõnh Dis­trict.

A lo­cal com­pany had rented land from the farmer to cul­ti­vate lo­tus plants in ponds, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal author­i­ties.

Nguye ã n Ta á n Xie áu, head of the main of­fice of the prov­ince’s Peo­ple’s Com­mit­tee, said the pro­vin­cial Aqua­cul­ture Di­vi­sion and other agen­cies had de­stroyed around 107 craw­fish in the pond and sprayed pes­ti­cides in an at­tempt to wipe out all the craw­fish in the area.

How­ever, some of the craw- fish could still be liv­ing in the bot­tom of ponds, he said.

Most craw­fish in Vieät Nam are i mported il­le­gally from China, ac­cord­ing to the Pha ùp

Luaät TPHCM (HCM City Law) news­pa­per.

Last year, Traàn Vaên Hoøa, di­rec­tor of Sen Hoaøng Giang Ltd Co, rented 2,500sq.m of land from farmer Ñinh Vaên UÙt in Taân Ho ä i Trung Com­mune to cul­ti­vate lo­tus plants.

The com­pany hired UÙ t in April last year to cul­ti­vate lo­tus af­ter re­ceiv­ing train­ing from Chi­nese work­ers em­ployed by Hoøa’s com­pany.

The im­ported lo­tus plants, which are dif­fer­ent from lo­cal lo­tus flow­ers in that they do not flower, were cul­ti­vated for their root­stocks only.

Ho ø a’s com­pany rented the land for three years to plant lo­tus to use the root­stocks for ex­port, ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince’s De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment.

The land lot, lo­cated on UÙt’s 22-ha rice field, was be­ing rented for VNÑ3.5 mil­lion (US$154) per 1,000sq.m per year, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment.

The de­part­ment al­lowed the com­pany to plant lo­tus on 3,000sq.m on a trial ba­sis in a more iso­lated area used for lo­tus cul­ti­va­tion.

The prov­ince’s Aqua­cul­ture Di­vi­sion in­spected the site twice and con­firmed that craw­fish were be­ing raised by Hoøa.

Ho ø a told lo­cal author­i­ties that he had been rais­ing four kilos of craw­fish (about 120 craw­fish) in a 500-sq.m pond on the rented land lot.

He said that he did not know that it was con­sid­ered a harm­ful species in Vieät Nam, and that he had re­ceived the craw­fish from a friend of his, whose name he did not re­veal, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal author­i­ties.

U Ùt , who had been hired by Hoøa, said all of the lo­tus plants had been de­stroyed by the craw­fish.

Phaïm Minh Chí, deputy man­ager in charge of le­gal is­sues of the prov­ince’s Aqua­cul­ture Di­vi­sion, said “This is con­sid­ered an in­va­sive, ex­otic species in Vieät Nam which can cause damage to crops, so the di­vi­sion has worked with Ho ø a to de­stroy them all.”

“We have also asked him to spray pes­ti­cide to kill all the craw­fish in the pond so there would be no risk of spread to other lo­ca­tions,” he added.

Nguye ã n Tha ø nh Ta ø i, deputy di­rec­tor of the prov­ince’s De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, said on Sun­day that the de­part­ment’s in­spec­tion team vis­ited the site and no­ticed that Hoa ø and his Chi­nese em­ploy­ees were not present at the time.

He said all of the cul­ti­vated lo­tus had died and the craw­fish had been de­stroyed by the Aqua­cul­ture Di­vi­sion.

Nguye ã n Va ê n Döông, chair­man of the prov­ince’s Peo­ple’s Com­mit­tee, said lo­cal agen­cies would mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion and con­tinue to de­stroy any re­main­ing craw­fish.

Craw­fish, also known as cray­fish, craw­dads, fresh­wa­ter lob­sters, moun­tain lob­sters, mud­bugs or yab­bies, are fresh­wa­ter crus­taceans re­sem­bling small lob­sters, to which they are re­lated.

They breathe through feather-like gills. Some species are found in brooks and streams where there is run­ning fresh wa­ter, while oth­ers thrive in swamps, ditches and rice pad­dies.

Most craw­fish can­not tol­er­ate pol­luted wa­ter. They feed on liv­ing and dead an­i­mals and plants.

The species, com­mon in Louisiana in the US, is of­ten called Louisiana cray­fish. —

Craw­fish, an in­va­sive species banned in Vieät Nam, can cause se­ri­ous damage to crops and dis­ease in shrimp. — Photo 24h.com.vn

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