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Becoming a billionaire in the West thanks to raising crispy carp

DONG THAP – Breeding 200 tons of crispy carp per year, Mr. Le Van Dung, 60, in Thanh Binh district earns tens of billions of dong.

Having been empty-handed due to losses in many pangasius cases, 10 years ago Mr. Dung sought to raise new fish breeds, hoping to regain his career because he did not want to give up the “hereditary” profession. During a tour in Hai Duong, he first knew about crispy carp.

Seeing a strange fish species, not available in the West, with high economic value, Mr. Dung imported nearly 3,000 fingerlings to raise in the Tien river raft in An Phong commune, Thanh Binh district. With many years of experience in fish farming, in the first crop, the ratio of raised fish for crispy meat is more or less successful.

Becoming a billionaire in the West thanks to raising crispy carp
Crispy carp was raised in Mr. Dung’s raft at harvest. Photo: Nguyen Anh

“Crispy carp is not a breed of fish, but they are raised with special food, making the meat tougher than usual,” Dung said, adding that it is difficult to distinguish crispy carp from normal carp with the naked eye. Their meat is only known to be eaten.

Explaining more closely, this farmer said that common carp were raised in cages from childhood with industrial food. When about 1.5 kg of fish is transferred to another cage, the crunch time begins for the next 100 days. At this stage, fish only eat peas imported from China, and Australia… It is the ingredients in the broad beans that have transformed the flesh of the carp. Each one can eat 1.5-2 kg of beans. Also from this point, the fish does not gain weight.

According to Mr. Dung, in the two stages of raising carp, besides industrial food and broad beans, no other types were used. The meat metabolism of fish occurs naturally with the help of lentils according to the feeding dose and time, and cannot be further interfered with by other means. Many types of fish that eat peas also become crispy and chewy, not just carp.

The peas are fed to the carp. Photo: Nguyen Anh

Carp farming techniques are not too complicated because this species is inherently easy to raise. Mr. Dung imported common carp from the North, priced at 300-350 VND each with incense sticks. Farmers depend on when the water is strong or weak, the amount of oxygen in the water is more or less to adjust the density of fish in the raft.

“In normal water conditions, in the brittle transition period, 40-60 kg per m3 can be released; if the water flow is strong, it can be increased to 70 kg per m3. With good fish breeds and favorable water resources, the proportion of fish can be increased to 70 kg per m3. brittleness can be up to 90%”, Mr. Dung said.

According to this farmer, the market for crispy carp is not only in the West but also in many other localities. Because it is quite strange, this fish is rarely sold in the market but is often supplied to restaurants and eateries. During the first harvests, he had to transport fish to each restaurant to introduce, guide the chef and even cook fish to invite restaurant owners to enjoy.

Mr. Dung’s raft for raising crispy carp in the Tien River. Photo: Nguyen Anh

Up to now, more than 20 fish rafts of Mr. Dung each season have traders and customers coming to the place to buy. The selling price of crispy carp is twice as high as that of regular carp, around 100,000 VND per kg, up to 200,000 VND per kg when it is sold. Every year, he exports about 200 tons of crispy carp, earning billions of dong.

Lecturer Duong Nhat Long (Faculty of Fisheries, Can Tho University) said that crispy carp was raised in the northern provinces many years ago. Lam Dong province used to grow silk beans to supply farmers. “Crispy carp is not a mutated fish. Because the protein content in the pea seeds has changed their meat, humans can safely use it,” he said.

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