Overview Objectives

This project aims to assist the development of bivalve hatchery production in both Vietnam and Australia. In Vietnam this is being achieved in a guided program of hatchery training and potential species evaluation. In Australia, where hatchery production is well established, research focuses on the development of techniques for the production of sterile fast growing ‘triploid’ Sydney rock oysters that can be used as an adjunct to existing breeding programs to amplify gains in growth and marketability.

Project Background and Objectives

Despite approximately 3260 km of coastline and many native clams, mussels and oysters with excellent production potential, Vietnam produces only 190,000 tonnes of bivalves, with only one third coming from aquaculture. This is a strong contrast with its neighbour China, which produces over 11 million tonnes of bivalves with over 90% from aquaculture.

While both countries have many species in common, China’s production capacity has increased because of its move from reliance upon gathering natural seed to the production of seed in hatcheries. The Vietnamese bivalve hatchery sector remains largely undeveloped, with most farmers, particularly in poorer northern Vietnam, reliant on a limited supply of wild-caught seed from the south. Attempts to establish hatcheries have been largely unsuccessful, due to limited expertise and poor design.

The Research Institute for Aquaculture No1 is attempting to address these limitations, with limited staff training programs and the construction of a new bivalve hatchery and research facility at Cat Ba Island.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Scientific and commercial interest in the expansion of bivalve culture in Vietnam has led to rapid initial progress in developing hatchery skills and capacity. The hatchery at the National Marine Broodstock Centre (NMBC), Cat Ba has been built and is being equipped, while the first commercial batch of Pacific oysters was bred in August 2007 and distributed to grow-out facilities. This rapid development, in conjunction with delays in project commencement because of time taken for signature of the present MOU, has prevented Staff from NSW DPI providing advice on initial hatchery design (Objective 1.1). However, the design of the hatchery is such that it does not preclude the later installation and operation of advanced culture systems and to promote the optimal use of the new facilities, we have accelerated the training and demonstration program (Objective 1.2) and advanced the travel schedule for Australian staff to visit Cat Ba to provide culture advice.

To establish the knowledge base required for the selection of suitable species and their successful production, we have worked with Staff from RIA No1 to develop a list of potential molluscs of commercial interest and then refined that list to those of greatest interest; namely the oysters Crassostrea gigas & C. ariakensis, the clam, Luthlaria phillipinarum, and the pearl oyster, Pteria penguin. Vietnamese staff have started to gather information pertinent to the culture of these species, which will be compiled into a database (Objective 2.1). We have started compilation of a mollusc hatchery manual based on similar manuals for the culture of Sydney rock oysters and are incorporating experience already gathered in operating the hatchery at Cat Ba. To improve overall production performance we have identified a number of algal species likely to be of greatest nutritional value to the target species and have provided isolates of those species for culture at Cat Ba (Objective 1.3). Staff from NSW DPI is scheduled to visit Cat Ba in August to check algal production progress and assist in increasing algal culture reliability and output.
To aid the development of hatchery programs through an understanding of the reproductive behaviour of the species of interest, NSW DPI staff have visited Vietnam and demonstrated techniques (macroscopic, morphological and histological) for reproductive monitoring, provided data collection sheets and helped design experiments to monitor Pacific oyster reproductive condition across three sites and using two culture methods. This monitoring will commence when the current batch of Pacific oysters reach maturity. In the interim, NSW DPI staff have established protocols for routine oyster health monitoring and collecting oyster performance data that will provide useful information on growing Pacific oysters in Northern Vietnam (Objective 2.4).
The Australian based component of this program has begun and we have commenced assessments of non-chemical means for the production of triploid oysters (Objective 4.1). The impact of temperature shocks on the early developmental stages of oysters has been completed. In a series of trails, the effects of the timing, magnitude and duration of elevated temperatures on newly fertilised oyster eggs has been assessed in terms of percentage development and percentage triploidy. To complement this research, a pressure vessel has been purchased and is being shipped from the US to allow the impacts of pressure to be assessed and potentially used in conjunction with temperature for triploid induction.

Scientific and commercial interest in the expansion of bivalve culture in Vietnam has led to rapid initial progress in developing hatchery skills and capacity. The hatchery at the National Marine Broodstock Centre (NMBC), Cat Ba has now been completed and the installation and operation of advanced culture systems to promote the optimal use of the new facilities is well established (Objective 1.1).

To improve hatchery production performance, advice and training in algal culture systems and operations was provided. The NMBC now has the most advanced hatchery algal culture system in Vietnam and one of the best in Asia. Importantly, the facility has been provided with a broader range of algal isolates of those species likely to be of greatest nutritional value for molluscs cultured at Cat Ba (Objective 1.3). The range of algal species available to researchers at Cat Ba has doubled with most of the species now in routine mass production. NSW DPI Staff visited Cat Ba in August 2008 and May 2009 to check algal production progress and assist in increasing algal culture reliability and output. Fresh axenic (contaminant free) cultures were supplied in May 2009.

In accordance with the needs and enthusiasm of the Vietnamese hatchery staff, the training and demonstration schedule initially proposed (Objective 1.2) has been accelerated and the three year plan has been completed within two years. Building on the existing skill base, these new techniques are already in application. The first commercial batches of 10 million Pacific oyster and 10 million clam spat (juveniles) were produced and distributed to farmers in 2008.

While the clams from 2008 are yet to be harvested, over 700 tonnes of Pacific oysters were produced with a further 300 tonnes being prepared for sale. This production, achieved within 2 years of the program commencing, is the equivalent of approximately 25% of annual oyster production in NSW. Currently a further 22 million spat have been produced in 2009 and are being ongrown to a size large enough for distribution. Demand for spat is high, but in response to early market needs, new “single seed” techniques (not used in the first year of production) have been transferred under the auspices of this program and are now being adopted.
Attempts prior to this program to produce Pacific oysters failed due to unexplained losses of juveniles. While this has not recurred, protocols for routine oyster health monitoring and collecting oyster performance data are in place (Objective 2.4).
To establish the knowledge base required for the selection of species and their production, staff from RIA No1 have begun to gather information pertinent to the culture of key species (Objective 2.1). The major output from the data collected is a first draft of a Mollusc Hatchery Manual. This has been completed and incorporates experience gathered from training modules conducted in Australia and operating the hatchery at Cat Ba. RIA No1 staff are planning a workshop in late 2009 to train commercial producers in hatchery cultivation procedures.
The Australian based component of this program has begun and we have commenced assessments of non-chemical means for the production of triploid oysters (Objective 4.1). The impact of temperature shocks on the early developmental stages of oysters has been completed. In a series of trails, the effects of the timing, magnitude and duration of elevated temperatures on newly fertilised oyster eggs has been assessed in terms of percentage development and percentage triploidy. To complement this research, a pressure vessel has been purchased and is being used to assess the synergistic impacts of temperature and pressure on ploidy.

Significant scientific and commercial interest in the expansion of bivalve culture in Vietnam continues and hatchery skills and capacity are expanding rapidly. Uptake within the commercial sector has begun with private hatcheries beginning to produce oyster seed and an increasing number of small farmers starting to produce oysters for local markets. Restaurants in the coastal tourist areas of Qaung Ninh and Hai Phong provinces have enthusiastically accepted “milky oysters” (Hau Sua) and are promoting the new product.

The initial program for expanding the hatchery skills of Vietnamese staff has been completed and this staff in turn is continuing to assist commercial operators. In March 2010, a hatchery workshop was held in Quang Ninh. Staff from each of the three Research Institutes for Aquaculture and NSW Industry & Investment (I&I) presented information on aspects of mollusc culture to hatchery operators and farmers from the province.

Hatchery production has expanded to feed the rapid demand for Pacific oyster seed. Previous outputs of approximately 20 million oyster seed have been eclipsed by the production of approximately 100 million seed in 2009. To support demand, 3 additional commercial facilities have now commenced production. To assist these facilities a mollusc Hatchery Manual was prepared by RIA No1 and has been circulated, which incorporates experience gathered in operation of the National Marine Broodstock Center hatchery at Cat Ba.

In accordance with increased seed supply, oyster production has continued to increase rapidly. Following the inception of the project in 2007, approximately 100 tonnes of oyster were produced which grew to 1000 tonnes in 2008. In the past year production has doubled to 2000 tonnes and within 3 years of the program commencing, production is the equivalent of approximately half of the annual oyster production in NSW. Further production increases are forecast as RIA No1 institutes a program to supply experimental batches of seed free of cost to appropriately licensed small farm holders.

The pace of progress has been so rapid, that the initial scope of the program has been quickly surpassed. RIA No1 and NSW I & I are currently developing plans for future collaborative research and development focussing on the refinement of nursery and growout procedures and increased product quality.
The Australian based component of this program has continued with the assessment of non-chemical means for the production of triploid oysters. Temperature and pressure stressors have been assessed individually and synergistically for their impacts on Pacific oysters, but these techniques have not yet been found to be suitable replacements for existing chemically based induction. This research has nonetheless placed us in a position to take an opportunity to support the production of conventionally produced triploid oysters within Australia, which in turn have been distributed to NSW farmers.

Significant scientific and commercial interest in the expansion of bivalve culture in Vietnam continues and hatchery skills and capacity are expanding rapidly. Private hatcheries are beginning to produce oyster seed and an increasing number of small farmers are starting to produce oysters for local markets. Current estimates indicate some 1500 people now work directly within the oyster industry.

The initial program for expanding the hatchery skills of Vietnamese staff has been completed. Vietnamese language manuals for hatchery operation have been produced and workshops have been held to disseminate hatchery skills and information to farmers and other researchers. The program has sponsored a John Allwright fellow to begin PhD studies on oyster transcriptomics at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2011. In acknowledgement of Vietnamese success and to further foster development within the oyster sector, we are working with the World Oyster Society to hold the 5th International Oyster Symposium in Vietnam in early 2013.

Hatchery production has expanded to feed the rapid demand for Pacific oyster seed. Previous outputs of approximately 20 million oyster seed have been eclipsed by the production of approximately 100 million seed in both 2009 & 2010. To support demand, 3 additional commercial facilities have now commenced production. The production season for 2011 is underway and 40 million seed have been produced to date.

In accordance with increased seed supply, oyster production has continued to increase rapidly. Following the inception of the project in 2007, approximately 100 tonnes of oyster were produced. Since that time, production has increased steadily. Output for 2010 was approximately 5000 tonnes and estimates for 2011 are currently predicting a continued increase to 7000 tonnes.

Commercial partnerships between Australian oyster producers and Vietnam have been established under which the first batches of triploid oysters (produced in Australia by I&I NSW) have been delivered to Vietnam for performance assessments. These oysters have been deployed to five sites (commercial farms and research facilities) in Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu long Bay. Performance to date has been promising and trials will be finalised in late 2011.

The pace of progress has been so rapid, that the initial scope of the program has been quickly surpassed. RIA No1 and NSW I & I have developed plans for future collaborative R&D focussing on the refinement of nursery and growout procedures and increased product quality. In the light of recent developments, including the spread of ostreid herpesvirus (devastates Pacific oysters), a small research application is planned for 2011-12 in which the first step of this larger program could be undertaken, specifically a review of Vietnamese molluscan biosecurity and health diagnostic capacity.
The Australian based component saw the assessment of non-chemical means for the production of triploid oysters. Temperature and pressure stressors were assessed individually and synergistically for their impacts on Pacific oysters, but these techniques were not yet been found to be suitable replacements for existing chemically based induction. This research has however supported continued supply of triploid oysters to NSW farmers, (26 million seed in 2010) and provided stock for assessments in Vietnam. Efforts have now moved to focus on clam production and under the auspices of this program the first artificial propagation of pipis ever in Australia was undertaken.

Project ID
FIS/2005/114
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
Department of Primary Industries, Australia
Project Leader
Dr Wayne O'Connor
Email
Wayne.O'Connor@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Phone
02 4916 3906
Fax
02 4982 1107
Collaborating Institutions
Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 1, Vietnam
Project Budget
$395,850.00
Start Date
01/07/2007
Finish Date
30/06/2012
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Chris Barlow