This area accounts for 30 percent of the total area under oyster farming, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Farmers in the southern region have suffered huge losses after nearly 3,000 hectares of oyster farms have been afflicted with diseases since March. Total losses are estimated at 30 tonnes of oysters worth nearly VND648 million (US$30,000). The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta provinces of Tien Giang, Ben Tre and Bac Lieu have been the hardest hit areas. Local authorities have said that the oysters have died because of inclement weather, high salinity content in the water and water pollution. Infections caused by parasites, fungus and bacteria have also been to blame. As well as this, improper farming techniques, the lack of natural food in the dry season plus high temperatures have also contributed to the problems, they said. However, speaking at a meeting on developing oyster farming held last month, Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said the main reason for the oyster deaths has not yet been identified. He ordered the Directorate of Fisheries to set up standard criteria for the oyster breeding process and submit them to the ministry for approval.
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