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WWF Removes Warning On Vietnamese Catfish

by 5m Editor
10 February 2011, at 12:00am

VIET NAM - Following Viet Nams public commitment in December last year to achieve certified sustainable production of pangasius, along with initial progress in transforming the industry, WWF shifted the product from the red list in its seafood guides to a new seafood rating category.

“As a result of intensive negotiations with Vietnamese officials, the country’s commitment to achieving sustainable certification of pangasius increased from less than one per cent of the sector to 75 per cent,” said Mark Powell, WWF’s Global Seafood leader.

“Delivering on this commitment will not only transform Viet Nam’s pangasius industry towards environmental and social sustainability, it also sends a powerful signal to the global aquaculture industry that sustainability means good business.”

The new category for farmed and wild-caught seafood, “Moving Towards Certification,” is designed by WWF to recognise significant commitments and progress towards sustainability certification for selected seafood products.

Along with Viet Nam’s pangasius, tilapia from Honduras and Indonesia are also in the new category.

“WWF is actively working to move all seafood along the path to sustainability.” added Mr Powell. “It’s important we encourage businesses and consumers to using their purchasing power to support industry players who are taking great strides towards sustainability and certification.”

“Certification for wild-caught seafood by the Marine Stewardship Council or farmed seafood by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which is expected to be fully in operation this year, is critical to delivering responsible fishing practices and sustainable seafood."

Pangasius is sold to more than 130 countries globally, mainly in the form of white filets. Viet Nam is the source of more than 90 per cent of pangasius (also known as tra and basa catfish) exports, which have expanded 50-fold over the last decade.

The rapid growth of the pangasius aquaculture industry has raised a number of environmental and social concerns. If improvements in Viet Nam’s pangasius industry fail to materialise then products will again be rated with WWF’s assessment tools and listed appropriately in WWF’s seafood cards.

“The transformation of Vietnam’s pangasius industry is already underway,” added Mr Powell. “Supported by the government, leading pangasius farmers have been working with WWF for two years to develop a rigorous set of sustainability standards that will be used in sustainability certification for pangasius farming.”

In a Memorandum of Understanding between WWF and Vietnam, a target of 50 per cent of Vietnam’s pangasius industry certified as sustainable by 2015 has been set as part of their goal to achieve 75 per cent. Indicators to measure progress in achieving this goal have also been agreed.

“Viet Nam has made an ambitious and commendable commitment to secure a sustainable future for their pangasius industry and WWF is committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure they deliver on their promise.”

5m Editor