There are far less tilapia hatcheries compared to shrimp or pangasius in Vietnam, as commercial tilapia production only developed in recent years. Nevertheless, there were more than 236 tilapia hatcheries in 2015 with a capacity to produce 455 million fish fry. Some processors have their own hatcheries, for example Hoang Long. Most of the hatcheries are located in the Mekong Delta, in the provinces where tilapia is farmed as well. There are also some hatcheries in northern Vietnam that produce seed for farms dedicated to the domestic market.
In the past, broodstock was mostly imported. However, this already started to change in the past few years. In 2015, there were more than forty facilities dedicated to brood stock selection. Current challenges of hatcheries in Vietnam include the low quality of mono-sex fingerlings, lack of vaccination and other disease control measures.
There is a number of specialized nurseries operating in different provinces. Nurseries buy fry from a hatchery and raise it to different sizes of fingerlings. Some farms use one of the ponds on their premises as a nursery pond. Larger fingerlings help to reduce the grow-out period and to increase the survival rate when farming in cages.
Tilapia feed is produced by some of the bigger companies manufacturing feed for other aquaculture species, such as US Feed and Green Feed. These companies have been in operation for many years and have complemented their product portfolio. An important feature of the Vietnamese tilapia market is related to feed. Since there are major concerns about the origin of fish oil and fish meal in aquaculture feeds and their impact on global fish stocks, many pangasius producers started to engage in tilapia farming. This allows them to use off-cuts from processing one species as feed input for the other species. Thus fish oil and fish meal from tilapia off-cuts serve as ingredients for pangasius feed and vice versa. This largely reduces the ecological footprint of both sectors.
Tilapia feed production in Vietnam reached 260,000 tonnes in 2012, some of it is exported. Several of the bigger producers have their own feed mills, such as Vinh Hoan and Hoang Long.