Aquaculture for all

Viet Nam Catfish Make The Red List

Sustainability Marketing +3 more

VIET NAM - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has transferred tra catfish to the red from the yellow list in its latest "Seafood Consumers guide 2010 2011.

The update changed the status of the Viet Nam pangasius, which was downgraded from YELLOW - “Think twice” to RED - “Don’t buy” in some countries including Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.

The change in the status of pangasius was due to a new assessment methodology applied in which environment criteria were more emphasised, says WWF Viet Nam.

Responding to the information, the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said this is a biased and nonsensical decision. He said: “The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has requested its departments to clarify if this is really an accusation from the WWF. If this is an official statement from WWF, I can say that this is a biased and groundless conclusion”.

“MARD will soon express its official voice to the WWF and relevant international organisations. The information will very seriously influence Vietnamese tra farmers and badly affect Vietnam’s tra fish exports. The WWF’s decision is highly enigmatic and it is unclear about whom it is supporting by launching such a biased conclusion,” Mr Tam said.

According to the Deputy Minister, the WWF has close ties with Viet Nam and it is cooperating with Vietnam in many fields, including aquaculture. However, this is a hasty and groundless decision.

“I can affirm that the process of farming, processing and exporting tra fish products gets the approval of GlobalGAP - the world measure of standards for agricultural produce, including aqua culture. Vietnam’s tra fish products have been exported to many countries in the world. If Vietnam’s tra fish products did not meet the requirements, they would never be able to be accepted and favored by picky markets, such as Japan, the US or the EU,” he continued.

Nguyen Huu Dung, Deputy Chair of the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) said on Phap luat Thanh Pho HCM newspaper that after hearing the news about WWF’s decision, VASEP tried to contact the fund to clarify the issue. However, WWF has not given satisfactory explanations yet.

Nguyen Viet Thang, Chair of the Fishery Association, also said that it is an unreasonable decision to put tra fish into the red list. In the last many years, the aquaculture and processing all have always been following the regulations set by FAO and GlobalGAP. Viet Nam’s tra fish has also received certificates from quality organisations in big markets in the world.

When talking with Viet Nam News Agency, Deputy General Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Pham Anh Tuan said that the WWF’s recommendations lack scientific foundations. According to Tuan, the recommendations bear bad intentions, thus badly affecting Vietnam’s tra fish industry and global consumers.

Viet Nam's tra catfish are exported to more than 120 countries including the US and the European Union

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