Aquaculture for all

Producing Sustainable Pangasius

Sustainability +1 more

VIET NAM - World pangasius production has increased ten-fold since 2002 and now stands at approximately 1.5 million tons, with the vast majority coming from Vietnam. Such rapid expansion has not been without controversy or environmental impact.

However, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) believes the problems associated with this exponential growth can be managed with the development of strong regional management and governance particularly with respect to water usage, feeds and effluent management.

At this time, SFP is not recommending companies abandon pangasius as some groups have, as the issues are not, as some would suggest, related to seafood safety but environmental stewardship and oversight. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) while moving pangasius to the “red list” has noted that this action was related to governance.

Are recent attacks by some organisations seeking to create fear in the minds of consumers with respect to pangasius safety? Are these efforts part of a larger campaign to limit the species’ share of the US seafood market? In 2009 pangasius entered the National Fisheries Institute “Top Ten” species, a reflection of the growing popularity of this mild, white-fleshed fish, asks Howard Johnson, SFP.

SFP has been actively involved with Vietnamese pangasius issues for the past three years starting with their work on water quality monitoring in conjunction with Can Tho University.

Currently, SFP is forming an Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP) in Vietnam to work not only with key stakeholders (producers and processors) within the country but also major buyers in Europe and the United States. Learn more by downloading the report on this project.

SFP has observed that three of the main concerns in pangasius farming in Vietnam are:

1) Preventing encroachment by any farms (certified or not) on remaining sensitive wetlands;

2) Sources of fishmeal; and

3) Managing cumulative water pollution impacts, those that are beyond control of individual farms. The ultimate goal of SFP’s work in Vietnam is to encourage appropriate regional management and governance, as well as to encourage individual farms to comply with recognized eco-label standards.

Processors and farms will work together to reduce the impacts of farms in aggregate, through better zoning, regulations and oversight.

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