Instead of leaving, people in the villages of Tam Nong district, Dong Thap province collected scales of snakeskin gourami and snakehead fishes and then sold them to traders at quite a high price. However, all do not know what the traders buy fish scales for. 

Fish scales are purchased by traders but no one knows the purpose.

As a person who attached to the fish-drying job for years, Ms. My Tien (owner of My Tien fish -drying production facility, Phu Tho B Hamlet, Phu Tho Commune, Tam Nong District) said: “An average of 100 kg of fish will provide about 7-10 kg of scales. In the past, the scales of snakehead fish were all left after pre-processing, but in the last two years, people can sell scales to increase their income. While other by-products such as bones, heads, and intestines of fishes are sold as food for fish farming in the region, fish scales are purchased in place by traders but no one knows the purpose.

Currently, the scales of snakehead fish are at 5,000 – 6,000 VND/kg. Even some merchants compete with each other and are willing to pay 10,000 – 12,000 VND/kg.

After many years of drying fish in Tam Nong district, Ms. Kim Lien (owner of Kim Lien fish-drying production facility) said: “From 2017, traders started to compete to buy fish scales, with the starting price of only 500 VND/kg. After that, however, the price of fish scales began to increase. Now, the scales of snakehead fish are at 5,000 – 6,000 VND/kg. In addition to snakehead fish scales, traders also buy more scales of many kinds such as Red Tilapia, Tilapia, etc.”.

Both producing, trading dried fish, and collecting fish scales sold to an intermediate trader in Cao Lanh City (Dong Thap), Ms. Vo Thi Le Hoa said that many traders came and competed to buy fish scales at 10,000 – 12,000 VND/kg. Being cautious of the price of fish scales fluctuating, Ms. Hoa asked traders to deposit money before buying for them. “On average, I collect more than 100 kg of fish scales every day and after 2-3 days, traders will come to buy once. It is worth mentioning that the intermediate trader and I are very blind about the fish scale product after being purchased, ” Ms. Hoa said.

Mr. Do Cong Binh, Director of Tu Quy Dried Product Joint Stock Company (Phu Tho commune, Tam Nong district), said: “In previous years, there were many traders from provinces such as Tien Giang, Ca Mau, and An Giang cane to buy snakehead fish scales from households in the village. However, I refused to sell. According to many years of experience, the collagen content in the scales of snakehead and Tilapia fishes is very little. So, I don’t know why traders collect them, they can only dry and grind them for animal food. Besides, if the collection by trades is stopped unexpectedly, it is difficult to handle environmental issues. Fish scales which are not well preserved will attract flies, causing environmental pollution”.

Mr. Luu Van Tien, Deputy Head of Agricultural and Rural Development Division of Tam Nong District, said: “Regarding the purchase of fish scales in the past time, we still do not have any information. We will find out about this shortly after the press’s reflection. ”