Vietnam’s seafood exports reach nearly US$7 billion by 2015


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has recently held a workshop on seafood export strategy in 2011 – 2015 and vision to 2010. Accordingly, seafood export would reach about US$6.5 – 6.7 billion by 2015.

The key markets remain EU, the U.S. and Japan accounted for 60 – 65%. All concentrated shrimp and pangasius farming areas of more than 1 ha will meet BAP or GAP standards and satisfy the traceability.

Seafood production for export will reach 1.5 – 1.7 million MT. Seafood raw materials for export processing of 3.2 – 3.5 million MT (of which domestic materials 2.5 – 2.6 million MT) will include 600,000 MT of farmed shrimp, 1.65 million MT of pangasius, 250,000 MT of clam, 165,000 MT of marine finfish, 200,000 MT of tilapia). Another 490,000 MT of raw material will come from catching and 600,000 – 700,000 MT from abroad.

The international market is not saturated, consumption demand in countries is till growing strongly. For many years, China has remained the largest seafood exporter in the world. However, this market is down in export volume due to loss of reputation for the quality and increasing domestic consumption demand. Therefore, China is able to become a seafood importing country. This is a great opportunity for Vietnam to earn US$8 – 10 billion from export seafood if good strategies and action plans are made.


Japan inspect 100% of shrimp from Vietnam to detect Trifluralin

On November 11, 2010, after finding three batches of Vietnamese shrimp that contained trifluralinTrifuralin structure, an herbicide, Japanese authorities began inspecting 100% of Vietnamese shrimp imports.  Truong Dinh Hoe, secretary general of Vietnam’s seafood exporters association, said Japan had already been inspecting 30 percent of Vietnamese shrimp imports after a warning about trifluralin early in 2010.  Hoe said Japanese companies were dropping the price they offered for Vietnamese shrimp or turning to other countries for supplies!

Trifluralin is a widely used herbicide that, in large doses, can cause cancer in animals.  In April 2010, Vietnam banned its use in aquaculture, but it is unclear how well that order is being enforced, and residues can remain in the soil for many months.

So far in 2010, Japan has imported about 40,000 tons of Vietnamese tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon).

The Vietnamese state-run newspaper Lao Dong quoted Ngo Van Nga, director of the Quoc Viet Seafood Processing Co, as saying complete quality control of Vietnamese shrimp was impossible because each container holds shrimp from many different ponds.  “If they decide to check 100 percent of Vietnam’s shrimp, no one knows what will happen,” Nga said.  “When they are rejected, companies lose $10,000 per container on expenses like transport and storage.”

Pangasius is a good choice, interview of Stephen Taylor, seafood category director for Findus Group

Pangasius filet

Pangasius filet

Following last weeks accusations from a Scottish MP that pangasius/catfish caught in Viet Nam and sold in the UK, was produced through‘slave labour’ , Stephen Taylor, seafood category director for FindusGroup defends pangasius, saying that it is a good choice.
Naturally we share his concerns that the rapid growth of aquaculture in developing countries requires proper management. That’s why major brands such as ours – together with retailers throughout the UK, wider EU and Scandinavia – take great care in ensuring that their aquaculture products are sourced responsibly.

Pangasius (also known as basa) imported by reputable suppliers is most definitely a safe, high quality product, produced in compliance with internationally recognised standards. From our point of view (and line with our overall Fish for Life objectives) we have spent considerable time and effort to develop and implement rigorous Codes of Practice for Pangasius.

Our Vietnamese supplier holds BRC, IFS and GlobalGap, ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004 certification – plus has been an active participant in the WWF dialogue programme thus indicating total commitment to GMP, GAP and responsible environmental management. Indeed this supplier is in line to become one of the first to achieve ASC certification for pangasius.

In terms of social accountability, we are also rigorous about standards and work closely with our suppliers to ensure good working conditions and labour practices. Nevertheless, we don’t take any of this for granted and recognise that we must do all we can to encourage best practice across the wider industry, not just our suppliers.

The Mekong Delta is not the environmental disaster Mr Stevenson implies although it does of course require sustainable management. We can be confident that Pangasius produced in the Mekong is a safe, high quality product which is ideal for the needs of the European market.

We strongly support the further development of an EU aquaculture industry and indeed, we are one of the world’s largest buyers of Scottish farmed salmon. However, we would also expect European policy-makers to recognise the global nature of seafood supply and encourage the competitiveness of the EU aquaculture sector by focusing on consumer needs and market requirements for quality and price.

In summary, we must recognize that the aquaculture of newer species such as pangasius offers a plentiful supply of good quality nutritious protein. We know that supplies of such fish are going to be increasingly important in the longer term as they offer a much needed alternative to the finite supplies of wild captured marine species.

If the seafood industry is to continue to grow we cannot simply continue to take more and more fish from the sea. Whilst our business will continue to be a major purchaser of UK caught pelagic and white fish, we must also look further afield for new opportunities to compliment these. Aquaculture of such species as pangasius therefore remains fundamentally important to the future security of fish supply and has a vital role to play in meeting future global food requirements as well as bolstering the developing economies of countries such as Viet Nam.

source: The fishsite

New guidelines from FAO on the ecosystem approach to aquaculture now available

New FAO publication

New FAO publication, Ecosystem approach to aquaculture

The FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department has just released new Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries on the Ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA). The EAA is a strategy for the integration of the activity within the wider ecosystem such that it promotes sustainable development, equity and resilience of interlinked social-ecological systems. As such, the focus is not what is done, but rather how it is done. The main objective of these guidelines is to assist countries, institutions and policy-makers in the development and implementation of a strategy to ensure the sustainability of the aquaculture sector, integration of aquaculture with other sectors and its contribution to social and economic development.

The document can be download if you click here

New Software for Managing Shrimp Farms


Rui Ferreira, director of Longline Environment, Ltd., in the United Kingdom, reports that his company is in the final stages of developing POND, a Windows-based software program for managing shrimp farms.  Longline is also exploring the possibility of making POND web-based, so that it would be available to all computer operating systems, something that it has already done with its software for managing mollusk farms.

POND calculates the growth and production of penaeid shrimp during growout, taking into account farm layout, cost of seed, farming technology (species, stocking densities, growout period) and pond characteristics (water temperature, salinity, chlorophyll and dissolved oxygen), and then calculates the harvestable biomass.

What species does POND cover?

Pacific White Shrimp – Penaeus vannamei

Indian Shrimp – Penaeus indicus

Giant Tiger Prawn – Penaeus monodon (under development)


POND analyzes all the data put in by the user and then outputs reports on production, environmental variables and pond mass balance.

The production analysis provides an overall picture of each pond by calculating the harvestable biomass, total feed and seed costs and estimated revenue/profit.  It determines the point during the growout cycle when the pond has reached its full harvestable biomass, then calculates the profitability for that pond—and the aggregate profitability for the entire farm.

The environmental analysis focuses on water quality and bottom sediments.  Outputs include predicted dissolved oxygen levels, chlorophyll and nutrient concentrations and bio-deposition.

The mass balance analysis aggregates data over the entire production cycle, producing a picture of what is happening across the farm.  The mass balance outputs show the feed used, feed consumed and shrimp production.  It also estimates the amount of sludge produced and reports on organic deposits, algal growth, and nitrogen regeneration and dissolution.

POND will also include a disease analysis component that calculates the likelihood of a disease outbreak based on what’s going on in the ponds.  That component provides an early warning system for conditions that are known to increase the likelihood of disease.

How Much Does Pond Cost?

Pricing is based on the number and type of licensing you choose.  POND is available as a single use license or a concurrent use license.  A single use license allows for the software to be used on one system.  A concurrent use license allows multiple users to operate the software concurrently through a shared pool of licenses.

You can download a demo version of POND at

Source: Shrimp News

Vietnamese shrimp export: positive outlook!

Shrimp harvested before shipment

Harvested shrimp in Soc Trang Province

According to Vietnam Customs in the first 9 months of 2010, Vietnameseshrimp export has reached 167,170 MT, valued at over US$1.4 billion,up 14.2% in volume and 22.13% in value compared to the same period of 2009.

Since early this year, Vietnamese shrimp export has not have any huge difficulties, both export volume and value to most major markets have been up sharply.

Among the 10 top Vietnam’s shrimp import markets, only Canada reduced to import this product. In the first 9 months of 2010, shrimp export to Chinaincreased greatest with 13,058 MT, worth over US$95 million, up 67.5% in volume and 62.2% in value over the same period last year. Although export price to this market was lower than other markets, export value remained high growth since the beginning of 2010.

Although facing the antidumping duty, shrimp export to the U.S. in the first 9 months of 2010 has still grown very “impressively” with 36,258 MT, worth US$376 million, up 13.9% in volume and nearly 30% in value over the same period last year. That was due to producer community’s outstanding efforts in the status of domestic raw material shortages and acumen, taking advantage of opportunities created by import markets. In the past years, Indonesia has always been a fiercest competitor of Vietnamese shrimp industry. However, since QI, 2010, Indonesian shrimp export to the U.S. has decreased continuously as export volume of Prima JSC – its largest producer and exporter decreased due to infectious diseases. In addition, the U.S. shrimp catches fell compared to last year due to oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – theU.S. major shrimp catching area making the domestic shrimp supply less more, even causing the shortage.

In 2010, shrimp export to EU has grown remarkably though many country members fell into the serious debt crisis. In the first 9 months of this year, shrimp export to this market has reached 30,980 MT, valued at US$225.5 million, up 10.3% in volume and 18.4% in value over the same period last year.Germany, France and the UK – three leading importers of Vietnamese shrimp seemed to not suffer from this debt crisis. Shrimp export value to these markets increased 56.8%, 12.3% and 6.2%, respectively to France, Germanyand England.

2010 has also been a good year for shrimp export to Japan. Since early this year, shrimp export to this market continued to increase. Following the inspection trip to Vietnam seafood processing industry in March 2010, good assessments of Food Safety Department – Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on the quality and food safety management methods ofVietnam’s seafood processing plants drove forces to shrimp export growth to this market.

It is forecasted that in the remaining months of 2010, Vietnam shrimp export would continue its growth unless markets’ conditions had many big changes.


Japan – an important market of Vietnam

Nearly past 10 years, Japan is the leading importer of Vietnamese shrimp. Big and stable demand, high export price are key factors tohelp maintain and increase shrimp export from Vietnam to this market.
The U.S. is also one of the key importers of Vietnamese shrimp, however only few enterprises dare to engage in this market be of big barriers from antidumping duty. Although shrimp export to EU in recent years remained strong growth, export price to this market was lower than Japan. Warm water shrimp has not captured the hearts of all people in EU countries. Consumption habit of cold water shrimp (mainly supplied by the intra-EU) is a limited factor in importing warm water shrimp into this market.

With geographical advantages, increasingly improved economic partnership between Vietnam and Japan, Japan’s strong economy and yen per USD exchange rate beneficial to its importers help Japan become attractive destination of Vietnamese shrimp exporters.

According to Vietnam – Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (VJEPA) signed in December 2008, since 1st October, 2009, frozen shrimp (code HS 030613) – a key product in Vietnam’s shrimp export structure – has been enjoyed tax-free when exporting to Japan. Japan Customs’ statistics in 2009 showed Vietnam was the leading supplier of frozen shrimp to Japan, accounting for 20% of its imported frozen shrimp’s market share. In 2009,Japan imported 197,749 MT of frozen shrimp of which Vietnam is the largest supplier with 39,925 MT.

Although in 2009 Vietnam’s shrimp export to Japan decreased slightly as its economy suffered from global economic crisis, in 2010 shrimp export to this market has maintained 2 digits growth both in volume and value.

Japanese economy was recovered gradually after the crisis, yen per USD exchange rate moved in the beneficial direction to import and in recent months, yen continuously increased against USD. Japan’s shrimp consumption demand in the last months of 2010 also facilitates Vietnam to boost shrimp export to this market.

In addition, the assurance of strict safety and quality of Vietnam’s shrimp products is one of the most important conditions to help boost its export toJapan. During the inspection delegation in March 2010, Department of Food Safety – Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recognized and assessed well the quality and food safety management methods of Vietnam.


25-year tides damage crops, fish ponds in South Vietnam

Ca Mau Province in South Vietnam

CA MAU – The highest tides in 25 years damaged crops and aqua culture on southernmost Ca Mau Peninsula last Saturday.

Ca Mau Province’s Agriculture and Rural Development reports that sea water surged over dykes in the Dam Doi, Nam Can, Ngoc Hien, Phu Tan districts destroying more than 3,000 ha of shrimp and fish ponds.

About 5,000 ha of rice paddy and plantation was also flooded in the Thoi Binh, U Minh and Tran Van Thoi districts.

Three days of high tides and heavy rain also damaged 53,000 ha of farm land in neighbouring Bac Lieu province.

The province could lose 13,000 ha if the high tides continue, warns the provincial agriculture department.

The high tides, which are expected to continue until this weekend, submerged most of Nga Nam in Soc Trang province.

The 1.6-million-ha peninsular Ca Mau Peninsular, on the southern tip of Viet Nam, includes Can Tho City and Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces as well as part of Kien Giang.

Source: Vietnam news


Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF


Pangasius has been moved onto the red list of various updated seafood guides published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this year.

The freshwater farmed fish, a staple in the portfolios of seafood companies in Europe, is on the red list for guides WWF has launched for 2010 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, having been previously on the yellow list.

Being on the red list means WWF advises buyers to look for an alternative seafood choice. For species on the yellow list, WWF recommends consumers can stil  buy, but chose as secondary to species on the green list.

The downgrading is “down to problems with governance,” WWF International Global Seafood Leader, Mark Powell, told IntraFish. “Changes can take place when we have new information. This year we have updated our scoring mechanism for farmed fish and we are in the process of doing the same for wild fish.”

In some cases, the guides have different ratings or more detailed ratings, depending on what is available in themarket, he said.

So, for Germany and Belgium, organic pangasius is on the green list. In the guide for Belgium, pangasius is also on the yellow as well as red list, with the red list marked for pangasius sold in retail giant Delhaize Group.

The WWF looks at the various sourcing points available in the market and distils that into the guide, that is, by its very nature, abbreviated, Powell said. “We give our business partners much more detailed information. For example, the information on pangasius that a retailer like Edeka wil  get wil  be much more comprehensive.”

The WWF is moving toward a harmonized, global stance on communicating information to consumers and businesses on seafood, said Powell.

The most information is included as to the reason behind the red listing on the Danish list. “A major problem is that farms pollute the natural environment around them, because nutrients, medicines and pesticides are washed into the surrounding rivers and lakes, and because there is a risk that the farmed fish spread disease to wild fish stocks,” the listing reads. “Furthermore, there is no assurance that the feed used in production does not come from overfished wild stocks.”

The listing also mentions the move toward Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-labeled pangasius, which is expected to hit markets in 2011.

“As long as the ASC is not in the market, you do not know pangasius is farmed sustainably. Therefore, WWF recommends that you find an alternative. Try one species from the green list instead,” reads the Danish guide. The WWF red listing follows an attack on pangasius by a politician in Europe and an anti-pangasius feature on the U.S. TODAY program.

Last week, Conservative member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson caused a stir in the seafood industry when he said pangasius is farmed by “slave labor” in the “filthy” Mekong River in Vietnam.

U.K.-based seafood firms Findus Group and Birds Eye Iglo Group both issued statements defending pangasius’ place in the European seafood market.

Source: IntraFish Media

Read also on our blog:

WWF Pangasius ranking: science or marketing? (13 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: Vietnam rejects WWF claim, says its catfish clean (6 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: the Vietnamese response (7 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: WWF answers to VASEP (7 december 2010)



Tilapia farm in Honduras first to be compliant with Aquaculture Dialogue Standards







October 22, 2010.Regal Springs Tilapia farm Aquafinca

in Honduras was the first aquaculture operation to be audited by the Institute for Marketecology (IMO) for compliance with the International Standards for Responsible Tilapia Aquaculture (ISRTA), which were completed last December by the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue.

This was the first of a number of ‘pilot’ audits scheduled under an agreement between WWF and GLOBALG.A.P. The audit was performed in the week of September 20, 2010, by auditors from the Institute for Marketecology (IMO), a world-wide operating certification organisation based in Switzerland that has been accredited for auditing against the GLOBALG.A.P aquaculture standards, as well as complying with the requirements for Certification Bodies (CBs) that want to audit against the ISRTA.

Letter of compliance

The positive outcome of this first audit result in an interim letter of compliance with  the ISRTA standards, which is issued today to Regal Springs by IMO.“IMO has a very strong department of experts in the field of aquaculture and it was a logical and important step to proceed with these new environmental and social standards. We are pleased to announce that the audits carried out at Aquafinca, Regal Springs Tilapia, Honduras were successful and the letter of compliance could be issued by IMO” says Dr Peter Schaumberger, the new Chief Exective of IMO.

Mike Picchietti, President/Director of Sales of Regal Springs adds: “As a member of the Global  Steering Committee of the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue, I am very pleased that wehave completed this first pilot audit with a positive result. We are planning for additional audits at other locations in the coming months.”

Jose Villalon, Aquaculture Program Director of World Wildlife Fund which initiated and coordinated the Aquaculture Dialogues: “We are delighted that after many years of hard work by so many people involved in the process, the first tilapia farm has now been audited and was found compliant with the Aquaculture Dialogue standards, and congratulate Regal Springs, who have been highly involved in the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue, with this great result.”

Pre-ASC assessment GLOBALG.A.P/WWF agreement

This is the first audit that took place under the agreement between WWF and GLOBALG.A.P in order to allow aquaculture operations to be audited against the standards developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues in the period before the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has fully set up their verification scheme. The Aquaculture Dialogue standards are added on, in their entirety, to the GLOBALG.A.P standards. In the past months, WWF and GLOBALG.A.P organized several training sessions for GLOBALG.A.P accredited CBs interested in also auditing farms against the ISRTA standards. Under the WWF/GLOBALG.A.P agreement, auditors from CBs accredited by GLOBALG.A.P who have followed this training as well as SA8000 training can perform the combined audits.

The ASC verification scheme

On September 15, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced their appointment of Accreditation Services International (ASI) as their international, independent accreditation body. Only ASI accredited CBs will be allowed to issue ASC certificates to operations that are in compliance with the standards, and the certificate will allow them to use the ASC consumer-facing label which is expected to be launched by mid-2011. Successful audits of producers compliant with ISRTA standards carried out under interim WWF/GLOBALG.A.P agreement will not result in a consumer-label – it is a B2B initiative.

Philip Smith, CEO of the ASC: “The  ASC congratulates Regal Springs as the first tilapia farmer complying with the International Standards for Responsible Tilapia Aquaculture. This is a good opportunity for the ASC to use the experience gathered in this and future audits of tilapia farms to be done by GLOBALG.A.P accredited CBs in the further development of the ASC accreditation and verification scheme. Once the ASC accreditation and certification scheme is in place, consideration will be given to ASC certification of this Regal Springs farm.”

Institute for Marketecology (IMO)

The Institute for Marketecology (IMO), Switzerland is one of the first and most experienced international bodies for the inspection, certification and quality assurance of sustainably produced products. IMO has been active in the field of organic and sustainable certification world-wide for more than 20 years. The lead office of the IMO group AG is set in Weinfelden and has 9 full fledged international companies and more than 20 smaller offices, mainly in the developing countries. The IMOgroup AG employs more than 350 experts worldwide for the certification of operations in more than 90 countries. IMO is a pioneer in the certification of aquaculture and fisheries operations: Since many years it offers inspection and certification according to important standards for the entire supply chain world-wide and has developed specific control systems.

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