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Fisheries industry nets award

VIET NAM - The fisheries industry has been conferred the Golden Star Order by the State for retaining its rank as the world's fifth largest fish farmer for five years in a row.

The ranking, recognised by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), has put Vietnam, which farmed close to 1.7 million tonnes of aquatic products in 2006, behind China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

At an award ceremony held in Hanoi on May 17, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung extolled the fisheries industry as a significant contributor to the national poverty reduction programme and the nation's continued socio-economic development.

Dung also called on the industry to pay greater attention to sustainable growth in the industry when it implements its 2010-20 development strategy, focus more on product quality, improve the living conditions of fishermen and ensure the safety of people fishing offshore.

In addition, FAO’s rankings have placed Vietnam 12 th on the list of fish catching nations and 9 th for fish exports for the 2001- 05 period.

The fisheries industry has recorded an annual average growth rate of 18.4 percent and provided jobs for almost 4 million workers in 2006, more than doubling the 1990 figure.

The country's seafood processing chains have seen the benefit of modernisation and now allow the nation's better-known trademarks to take a firm foothold in 140 foreign markets.

Aquaculture contributed to over 41 percent of the gross fish catch of over 3.4 million tonnes in 2005 a massive increase from the 25 percent of gross catch it recorded in 1986.

Minister of Fisheries Ta Quang Ngoc said the industry’s 2010 plan called for a production output of 4 million tonnes.

Exports revenues are also expected to increase to between 4.5 and 5 billion USD against 3.35 billion USD in 2006, he concluded.