VASEP wants WWF to apologize

Vietnam’s fisheries association wants the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to apologize for having recommended consumers not buy Vietnam’s tra fish in its guidance this year, the association chairman said Monday.


WWF put Vietnam’s pangasius fish into the “Don’t buy” list in its 2010-2011 guidance manual for seafood consumers in Germany, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland, saying the fish farms have polluted the environment.

“We have looked over WWF’s 19 criteria carefully and found they are inaccurate and lack evidence,” said Nguyen Viet Thang, the chairman.

“These assessments focus solely on some facts including impacts of breeding tra fish to the environment and diseases. Compared with the Code of Conduct of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the facts are inadequate and groundless.

“Therefore, WWF should apologize to Vietnam’s government and fish farmers,” Thang said.

Pham Anh Tuan, deputy head of the General Fisheries Department, said a WWF delegation will visit Vietnam December 14 to answer all technical questions related to the assessment methodology and process.

The General Fisheries Department will provide WWF with scientific evidences on Vietnam’s tra fish, helping it to reassess the case and move tra fish out of the “Don’t buy” list, Tuan said.

Tuan also disclosed Vietnam has not considered suing WWF at the World Trade Organization.

In a press release issued last Thursday, WWF Vietnam said it has received standards used to assess pangasius-processing from its colleagues in Europe on December 8 and passed them on to the General Directorate of Fisheries as well as the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers(VASEP).

WWF Vietnam reiterated in the press release that it was not involved in the assessment, but as the WWF’s representative in the country, it has the responsibility to participate in solving the problem.

“It is regretful that members of the WWF in several European countries have made assessments that are inaccurate, lack scientific foundations and are at odds with the realities of Vietnam’s tra fish,” the Vietnam News Agency quoted Nguyen Phuong Nga, spokesperson for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, as saying at a press briefing in Hanoi Thursday.

This activity will cause great losses to Vietnamese fish farmers and seafood processors as well as European consumers and not benefit the ongoing development of economic and trade ties between Vietnam and European nations, she said.


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