New environmental monitoring initiative to support Vietnamese shrimp and crab aquaculture

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province has launched a new environmental monitoring initiative that will support shrimp and crab aquaculture in mangrove forests.

Mekong Delta province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development launched this new initiative, named AQUAM, with the help of Australia’s University of Queensland and GreenField Consulting and Development. The project aims to build an environmental monitoring system for mangrove aquaculture to improve the management of mangrove forests and the resilience of coastal communities in the face of climate change.

Key features of the project

The project will be carried out over the next 15 months in key mangrove aquaculture areas. Funded by the Australian Innovation Fund, the project’s total budget is over USD $384,948.

The primary goal for this project is to design, produce, install, and operate 15 wireless aquatic environmental monitoring stations (AQUAM stations) at key water points for mangrove-aquaculture.

Using data from Sentinel 1 and 2, Google Earth Engine, Google Deep learning TensorFlow, and the Google cloud platform, the project will upgrade and tailor automated mangrove change detection in the Ca Mau province. Using this data, AQUAM will design an app to advise farmers on environmental hazards and fluctuations in real-time. Farmers and technicians can also use this app to report their own findings and prepare others for dangerous conditions.

The significance of mangrove aquaculture

Mangrove aquaculture systems support biodiversity, carbon sequestration, coastal protection, and resilience to climate change. These systems are heavily dependent on the influx of high quality natural tidal water. If tidal water is polluted, low in oxygen, or affected by salinity changes, due to heavy rains or drought, this poses risks to both aquatic species and mangrove trees.

Therefore, monitoring of water quality is critical to support farmers’ decision making on what species to culture and when to exchange water within aquaculture ponds. This is especially important in the Mekong Delta region, where water pollution, caused by upstream agricultural production, intensive aquaculture, industrial production, and domestic waste is becoming more severe.

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