Aquaculture for all

Poisenous Fish Could Be Profitable Business

Marketing Economics Food safety & handling +3 more

VIET NAM - The Viet Nam Fisheries Association is moving ahead with plans to turn puffer fish, which due to its poison, is often called the death fish, into a valuable export item. The association believes export of the fish can bring in 10 million dollars a year.

Over recent years, Nguyen Phong Hai, director of the Sao Bien Seafood Company in the sea province of Kien Giang has spent time learning the technique which enables him to remove the poison from the fish so they can be exported.

Mr Hai said South Korean partners have visited Viet Nam to place puffer fish orders. Others are looking to Kien Giang province for a fish supply source.

Mr Hai has decided to implement a plan to process puffer fish for export which he believes exports will bring him a high turnover.

“The South Korean partner has committed to purchase 50 tonnes of puffer fish a month at over two dollars per kilo. They only ask us to gut the fish and then freeze them for export,” Mr Hai told VietNamNet.

However, the problem lies in the fact that the Government now strictly prohibits processing, trading and using puffer fish in any form. Decree 681 announced in 2003 on the issue is still valid. However, despite the ban, people have still been illegally trading and eating the fish simply because of the profit it brings.

According to VietNamNet, the people behind the new export plan, puffer fish reserves are estimated at 37,000 tonnes. If the plan is approved, puffer fish processing could output 4,000 tonnes a year in 2010-2015. That would bring a total export revenue of three to five million dollars. The export turnover may be raised to $10 million in the next years.

According to Mr Hai, the Tac Cau fishing wharf can provide 10 tonnes a day of puffer fish caught by farmers who sell at 6,000-7,000 dong per kilo. This fish is normally used for making feed for aquaculture or dried for export to China.

Companies who are able to process the fish so it is not poisonous, Sao Bien and Mai Sao Seafood Processing Company have submitted to the Kien Giang Agriculture Department plans to export puffer fish on a trial basis to South Korea.

Mai Sao director Cao Huong Thien said his company has customers, processing workshops and materials. It just needs to get the license to start the project on processing and exporting fish.

VietNamNet say other seafood companies have expressed the same desire to export puffer fish.

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