One of Africa's top freshwater fish producers and one of Asia's booming mariculture sectors are to merge to launch an aquaculture industry using both river and sea.
The cooperation agreement was signed between Egypt's General Authority for Fish Resources Development (GAFRD) and Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) earlier this year to establish a framework for joint fisheries growth.
Researchers, trainers and quality control technicians in fisheries and aquaculture in both countries are now being encouraged to share expertise and exchange visits.
General Manager of GAFRD Ahmed Salem said: "The two countries are an ideal match (for technical transfer) as both share a similar economic and social situation, and both offer solutions that do not rely on high technology.
"Egypt is a leader in freshwater aquaculture, while Vietnam is very developed in mariculture."
Egypt raises four out of every five fish farmed in Africa, with its fish farms generating over 700,000 tonnes of finfish last year, or 65 per cent of Egyptís total fish production.
GAFRD Chairman Mohamed Fathy Osman said Egypt hopes to gain direction in breeding and processing saltwater marine species.
"Mariculture only contributes about 5 per cent to our total fish production," he explained, "but I think it is the future of aquaculture in Egypt, either through cage culture or offshore fish farming. For certain, we will need foreign expertise in marine breeding and incubation techniques to develop this field."
With over 20 years of experience in mariculture and more than 40,000 offshore cages, Vietnamís private operators also use 3,200 km of coastline to raise shrimp, mollusks, cobia and grouper.
Vietnam will offer training courses on open sea and cage breeding of marine finfish and shellfish. Egyptian technicians, in turn, are assisting Vietnam in improving freshwater fish farmsí productivity and quality as it works on growing its tilapia market.