In recent years, the Mekong delta has been strongly developed both for agriculture and aquaculture. However, there is scope for a negative impact of agriculture on aquaculture in term of production and quality of seafood products. Specifically, the large amount of pesticides imported and used in the Mekong delta not only help agriculture purposes but can also easily enter aquatic systems and affect aquaculture. Pesticides can be transported in the environment by chemo-dynamic procedures and hydrological processes. As a result, pesticides used in agriculture become dispersed and their residues in sediment, water and biota have been detected in the Mekong delta. This study investigated the overall pesticide process including pesticide use, modelling pesticide accumulation and evaluating the potential impact on aquaculture sites for some target aquatic species.
The risk of pesticides use in the Mekong delta was addressed in three stages: (1) investigating current pesticide use status in the Mekong delta; (2) modelling pesticide loss and accumulation; (3) classifying pesticide risk areas for aquaculture of target cultured species.
A survey of 334 farms covering a total area of ~20,000km2 in the Mekong delta took place between 2008 and 2009. Information on pesticide types and quantities was recorded using questionnaires, and it was found that 96 pesticides in 23 groups were popularly used for agricultural purposes. Dicarboximide, Carbamate and Conazole had the highest use at ~3000, ~2000 and ~2000 g/ha/year respectively. The survey revealed an increase in pesticide use per hectare since previous surveys in the Mekong delta in 1994, 2000, and 2004. However, the highly persistent compounds (WHO classification classes II, III and IV) appeared to have reduced in use. Insecticides previously represented >50% of the total pesticides used, however, the resent survey has shown their use has decreased to ~38%.There was a parallel increase in use of fungicides from previous levels of