“Doctor of Shrimp” Tran Huu Loc

“Doctor of Shrimp” Tran Huu Loc

Forty years after the South of Vietnam was completely liberated, today young people in Ho Chi Minh City have followed their ancestors to contribute to building their homeland in different ways. One of the examples of these people is Dr. Tran Huu Loc who has just been honored as “A typical young citizen of the city in 2014”.
Tran Huu Loc was born in 1984 when peace was restored in the country, so he and his peers had favorable conditions to learn and realize their dreams.

Loc lives in Linh Trung of Thu Duc District, a suburban district in Ho Chi Minh City, where there are many lakes formed from the craters during the war. During his childhood, Loc and his friends had a hobby of catching fish and shrimp. He was enthralled with the world of fish and shrimp, and when he grew up, he was encouraged by his parents to learn what he was interested in, so he took the entrance exam to the Fisheries Faculty of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Agriculture and Forestry.

In 2010, he graduated and was granted a full scholarship to study at the University of Arizona (the US), majoring in microbiology and pathology on shrimp. At that time, shrimp farming in Vietnam was full of hardships and many shrimp raising households suffered heavy losses because a large number of shrimp died because of a disease called “Early Mortality Syndrome” (EMS), also known as “Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome” (AHPNS).

In this situation, Loc boldly chose this disease as a research subject for his doctoral thesis. After three years of research, he found the cause of the EMS/AHPNS disease. It was a bacterium called Vibrio parahaemolyticus which made the shrimp stop eating and die very quickly.

With this important finding, he worked out methods to prevent this disease, including strict control of the breeding shrimp, water treatment and zoning of the raising areas in the direction of biosecurity. These methods were experimentally applied and yielded good results. The achievements of the research are scientifically and practically significant for Vietnam and the world.

In 2011-2012, the EMS/AHPS disease prevailed in the shrimp farms in Soc Trang and Bac Lieu Provinces but the farmers could not find treatment methods. Fortunately, Loc’s methods were introduced, and the disease was cured.

“Doctor of Shrimp” Tran Huu Loc. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Dr. Tran Huu Loc checks the growth of breeding shrimp. Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Dr. Tran Huu Loc introduces a foreign expert to a process of treating shrimp’s diseases. Photo: File

Dr. Tran Huu Loc and his colleague at the lab in the Minh Phu AquaMekong ShrimpVet Laboratory
Photo: Le Minh/VNP

Dr. Tran Huu Loc receives the doctoral degree at the University of Arizona (the US). Photo: File

With his great contribution to science,
Dr. Tran Huu Loc has been awarded many domestic and international prizes. Photo: File

After defending his doctoral thesis successfully, by the end of 2013, Loc returned home and worked as a teacher at the University of Agriculture and Forestry. Under his proposal, the university built a laboratory with modern equipment specializing in research of shrimp and fish.

Although the laboratory has operated for little more than one year, it has proven efficient and has become an important place for many postgraduates and students to work and study.

Besides teaching, Loc often organizes many agricultural seminars to provide people with knowledge of aquaculture.

In 2014, he coordinated with many provinces and cities throughout the country to organize dozens of reality television programs for thousands of farmers with the aim of providing them with advice and to answer their questions about shrimp farming. His talks attracted a large number of farmers. For better results, he also went to the shrimp raising areas and waded into the farms to give accurate and thorough guidelines for the farmers.

After nearly two years, he has visited most areas in the south and central Vietnam where shrimp farming has developed strongly, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Thuan, Quang Binh and the southwestern provinces. Some of his trips lasted for a month and were strenuous, but the farmers’ application of his advice and obtainment of good results were a great spiritual encouragement for him.

Associate Prof. Nguyen Nhu Tri, Dean of the Fisheries Faculty of the University of Agriculture and Forestry, said: “ Loc is a young lecturer who has a great passion for science, and he has made pioneering contributions to research and has worked out practical solutions for shrimp farming in our country”.

As a native of Ho Chi Minh City, he regularly supports the local activities and enthusiastically participates in the “Green Summer”. He has participated in many training courses on aquaculture for veterinary workers and farmers in Binh Chanh, Can Gio and Nha Be Districts. His work is totally connected with shrimp, so his friends, colleagues, and farmers cordially call him “Doctor of Shrimp".

With a desire to help the farmers, Loc always thinks of research to work out scientific methods for the treatment of shrimp diseases, considering it an important key to help people have a more affluent life from shrimp farming.

Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Le Minh & Files