Vietnam not complacent over its huge cashfish exports

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
15 June 2007, at 1:00am

VIET NAM - The nation has seen a 37.5 fold increase in catfish export revenues in the past decade but enterprises must strive to meet international standards by any means possible to bolster the business.

The statement was made by Deputy Minister of Fisheries Luong Le Phuong at an international conference jointly held in Ho Chi Minh City on June 13 by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and INFOFISH.

The conference drew over 300 processors, importers and exporters both at home and from various countries including the US and China.

Phuong said the Government has reminded enterprises to invest in upgrading technology and renewal of management.

“Tight control on product quality, food hygiene and safety and environment protection are key measures that seafood processors should take into account to meet increasingly high demands from international markets,” said the senior official.

The Ministry of Fisheries also encouraged processing factories and enterprises with high competence to join in a strong alliance to produce high quality products and prestigious trademarks, Phuong said.

He raised concerns over the recent wanton expansion of catfish farms, posing threats to the environment and ecology. He called on local administrations to work out concrete development plans on the way towards quality rather than quantity.

The water surface for catfish farming in Vietnam has expanded seven times over the last decade to 9,000 ha in 2006 while the country’s catfish production output skyrocketted by over 36 times to 825,000 tonnes.

The output and gross revenues in catfish exports surged by 40 times and 37.5 times, respectively, to 286,000 tonnes and 737 million USD in 2006.

Vietnamese catfish products are now available in over 80 foreign markets the world over, said Phuong.