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Seafood Exports Soar up to $3.32 billion

HA NOI, VIET NAM Seafood exports in September reached US$450 million, lifting total seafood exports in the first nine months of the year to $3.32 billion. This is a 21.9 per cent increase over last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

With a growth rate of 24.6 per cent in the first nine months of the year, seafood processing had the highest growth rate of all processing industries. The average growth rate of the country’s processing industries during the period was 16 per cent.

In the first nine months, frozen shrimp remained the industry’s biggest earner at $1.16 billion, a year-on-year increase of 7 per cent, said Nguyen Thai Phuong from the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors.

Despite topping the list, Phuong said, the proportion of shrimp in the country’s total seafood exports decreased 4.7 per cent to 34 per cent over the same period last year due to fierce competition from Thai and Indian shrimp.

Maintaining a high growth rate, tra and basa catfish followed shrimp with $1.1 billion in January-September. Catfish accounted for 32.3 per cent of the country’s total exported seafood, up 5.7 per cent.

Export levels by the seafood industry so far this year were notable, because the industry faced difficulties from the US’s anti-dumping litigation and Japan’s stricter surveillance on imported seafood, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD),

The ministry attributed the achievements to the seafood exporters increasing exports to other markets including the European Union. The exporters also successfully made tra and basa catfish become a key staple in the European market.

Given the export results gained in the first nine months and the pattern that the seafood industry typically sees record export levels in October, MARD deputy minister, Luong Le Phuong, predicted seafood exports would exceed the annual plan of US$4.2-4.3 billion.

However, experts also warned that there might be a shortage of catfish materials in the last months of the year when seafood processors increase output to prepare for New Year festival demands.

Phuong recommended seafood processors co-operate with farmers in addition to setting up their own aquaculture areas, so that they can be more active in developing supply sources.

In order to make the fishing industry develop sustainably, MARD has mapped out a project which will focus on processing, feed and the training of human resources. The project will also propose to establish a financial mechanism for the fishing industry to better develop

Ellen Hardy

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