Vietnam: US$300 million tuna export on target

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) is targeting US$300 million in tuna exports this year, up 4.5% year-on-year.

The association hopes the recently agreed cuts to international blue-fin tuna fishing will mean better earnings for the yellow-fin tuna industry here.

A 40% cut in the blue-fin tuna catch in the eastern Atlantic Ocean region has been agreed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna while the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Blue-fin Tuna will reduce catches by 20% this year.

Now is a good chance for local exporters as the nation primarily exports yellow-fin tuna, VASEP said.

Domestic enterprises would have trouble expanding their export markets due to a lack of input materials, an official from Dragon Waves Seafood Co. in Khanh Hoa Province said, however.

There are large tuna fishing fleets in Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen provinces.



Pangasius: WWF did not remove pangasius from red list

Pangasius has not been removed from the Red List included in the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) guide handbook for seafood consumption in 2010-2011 of Belgium and Norway as WWF said it would more than month ago, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) alleged Tuesday.

Mark Powell, WWF global seafood coordinator said at a press conference on Dec.17 that WWF would immediately remove Vietnamese catfish from all Red Lists, and move it to a new category stating producers are working toward certification.

Vietnamese companies and farmers are now doubting WWF’s cooperation commitments with Vietnam, said VASEP.


Barramundi in Vietnam: how to become billionaire?

Starting the business with the initial investment of only VND4 million, just 3 years later, Mr. Truong Van Tri, a student in Thai Binh province, can earn VND5-10 billion annually. Facing failure dozens of times, he still strived to overcome the difficulties with the strong belief “I can do it.”


Selling his wedding ring to buy barramundi

Mr. Truong Van Tri was born into a family of 4 children in Nam Cuong commune near the beach of Tien Hai district, Thai Binh province. His family was so poor that he could just afford to study in the Faculty of Aquaculture Techniques of Bac Ninh Fisheries College. He had a burning dream of entering the University.

Graduating with excellence fin 2003 at the age of 23, Tri rejected the offer to stay and work at the College and returned to his hometown. After working in his hometown for several years without any remarkable success, he decided to move to Cat Ba island (Hai Phong) to work in the Aquaculture Research Institute No 1 with the salary of VND950,000 a month .

Yet, he was not content with this job, which matched his major. His sweet memories with his grandfather and father farming inspired him to try to set up his own fresh water farm to grow barramundi.

One day, he remembered talking to the Chairman of Nam Cuong People’s Committee, who agreed to lease him the land. The next day, he went to the Chairman and signed a contract to rent 7,530 square metre of land for VND4 million within 5 years.

This amount of money was all he had to start the business. To pay for the pond preparation, brood-stocks, feed and many other things, he had to borrow from his relatives, friends and even sell his wedding rings.

Given the fact that growing fresh water fishes requires large ponds and much greater investment but the return is low, Tri decided to raise barramundi instead.

Belief in a possibility

Knowing well that barramundi live in marine water, he still determined to grow them in fresh water because he once read that barramundi could live in fresh water and he himself believed that.

His belief comes from a childhood memory. When he was 10 years old, his father brought him some barramundi from the sea and he released them into his fresh water pond. When the pond was harvested, several of them was still alive. “This means that they can be grown in fresh water”, thought Tri. He then tried his best to domesticate this fish in his hometown.

In February 2006, with the help of his friends, he imported ten thousand barramundi juveniles from Thailand at the price of VND2000/one. This first lot of barramundi was not completely domesticated and only 1000 were alive. He got only VND3 million from selling them, losing VND17million.

Despite that great loss, Tri continued to import another ten thousand barramundi juveniles. Fortunately, they cost him only VND12million and 40% of them were alive. One month later, he sold 3,000 juveniles and grew the rest until each weighed 700 grams on average. This time he broke even.

By the end of 2006, Tri succeeded in domesticating barramundis in fresh water, with 80% juveniles alive. In March 2007, he went on to import 20 thousand juveniles, nearly 90% of which survived fresh water.

Visitors at Tri’s barramundi tanks

Jumping out of the sea

Tri has now become a well-known supplier of barramundi juveniles. Every year, his one million juveniles are distributed to farmers from the North to the South.

In 2010, his old farm was expanded and replaced by 5 ha of newly-built ponds. The investment increased to VND10 billion. However, the barramundi supplied was only enough for domestic markets.

Tri has been dreaming of shipping barramundi abroad like black tiger shrimps and Pangasius. Last year, he himself went to Laos to do market research to make this dream come true.

While doing roaring trade in barramundi farming, he passed the entrance exams into Hanoi University of Agriculture in 2009. “Entering the University has been my burning dream since early childhood. I think good qualification is a must if we want to go further in our career,” said Tri.

Going back to school while managing the 5ha farm stocked with one million barramundi juveniles, 24 hours a day seems to be not enough for him. However, he still managed to take an English course and teach himself computer skills in a hope that he himself will be able to introduce his barramundi to foreign partners.

The key to success of this 30 year old man, who earns tens of billion dongs each year is: working enthusiastically – learning more – believing in possible things.

read also: India looks to barramundi


More efforts for sustainable development of Tra fish industry

Despite the negative impact of the global economic crisis, technical barriers from Vietnam’s seafood markets, and the increasing prices of materials, the Vietnamese Tra fish industry made significant achievements in 2010.

Although Vietnam’s total Tra fish breeding area in 2010 met only 90 percent of the year’s target, reaching 5,400 ha, the total output rose by 4 percent against 2009 to 1.1 million tonnes as the productivity increased to 260 tonnes per ha. The quality of the product also improved.

Unlike previous years, there were no redundancies in materials in 2010 because many localities successfully got processing businesses and animal food businesses involved in Tra fish breeding.

Tran Van Hung, General Director of the Hung Ca Joint Stock Company in Dong Thap said his company was focusing on the development of clean breeding to ensure the quality of the products.

“We have had a lot of orders because consumers now prefer clean products,” he said. Read more of this post

Vietnam: Aquaculture production will reach 3 million MT in 2011

Pangasius Harvest in South Vietnam

Shrimp harvested in South Vietnam













At the end of 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) coordinated the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS) to hold the conference on the management of seafood seed production and business.

At the conference, Deputy Minister of MARD Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu concluded that in 2010, Vietnam produced about 1.8 billion seeds of pangasius, 25 billion seeds of black tiger shrimp and over 20 billion seeds of whiteleg shrimp and other seeds for 5,200 ha of pangasius farming, 64 thousand ha of black tiger shrimp farming and 23.5 thousand ha of whiteleg shrimp farming. Aquaculture production in 2010 is estimated at about 2.8 million MT, in which pangasius production of about 1 million MT, black tiger shrimp of 300 thousand MT and whiteleg shrimp of about 150 thousand MT.

In 2011, the aquaculture area does not increase but its production strives for 3 million MT, up 8 – 10 percent compared to 2010. To achieve this target, the functional units must plan immediately on producing seeds, ensuring to supply enough in quantity and get the seed quality of some main species for the large and concentrated farming areas.

The Department of Animal Health must control strictly the quarantine of shrimp, pangasius, tilapia, mollusk and other species seeds, especially imported seeds across the Northern border; ensure the simply procedures and avoid the quarantine many time, etc.

Source: VASEP

Vietnam: Striving to 50 percent of shrimp farms are numbered in 2011

On 19th January 2011, in Can Thi City, the Directorate of Fisheries (DoF) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) held a conference on the review of brackish water shrimp production in 2010 and the implementation plan for 2011.

According to the data of D-FISH, the aquaculture production in 2010 reached about 2.82 million MT, up 9 percent from 2009; its export value was US$4.7 billion. In which, the farming area of black tiger shrimp was 613,718 ha; the farming area of whiteleg shrimp was about 25,397 ha, up 32 percent over 2009. In 2010, shrimp export value is estimated at over US$2 billion.

The delegates said that the price of black tiger shrimp in 2010 tended more favorable for farmers. However, the farming area out of the planning was great, using unquarantined bloodstocks was rather high, feed continuously fluctuated, and farmers had difficulties. The farming area of whiteleg shrimp increased and has had the high potential risk of spreading disease to the ponds of black tiger shrimp. The delegates proposed to conduct fee-free quarantine of the quality of broodstocks for farmers aimed at enhancing the quality of farming areas and reducing the pressure for management authorities.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said whiteleg shrimp is alien species that has been allowed to farm in Vietnam, but the localities must publish their farming areas under the management planning. In 2011, black tiger shrimp is still the main object to farm, so the localities must watch the loan situation to propose their difficulties and recommend to the government and the State Bank. The localities are required to focus on investment in the irrigation for farming areas. MARD will soon issue the criteria for farming areas and in 2011, it is strived to 50 percent of shrimp farms are numbered to implement the traceability.


Nemuro wants to cooperate with Vietnam on fisheries

Nemuro city (Japan) wants to cooperate with Vietnam on processing and consumption of salmon and mackerel (sanma). Nemuro which hast he largest seafood catches in Japan is heading to Vietnamese markets.

Three months ago, at the invitation of Nemuro city government, the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development sent the delegation to work here from 6th to 10th October, 2010 to establish the relationship of seafood business with this city. During the trip, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) Phan Thanh Chien and leaders of some seafood enterprises had the opportunity to visit Nemuro’s fishing ports and processing plants.

In response, on 12th January, 2011, Mr. Shunsuke Hasegawa, Mayor of Nemuro led the delegation to visit and work with the Directorate of Fisheries (D-FISH). Deputy Director of D-FISH received the delegation.

Mr. Shunsuke Hasegawa said, currently, the city has a 20 feet container of sanma and salmon awaiting export to Vietnam. However, the time of export registration and awaiting the results from local and Japanese authorities so long, thus, this container has not been exported to Vietnam as expected.

Recently, the strong yen makes the price of seafood expensive. However, the price of sanma – the speciality of Nemuro is still cheaper than others and is not competitive due to the local processing companies have not experienced to export. 24 sanma processing enterprises in Nemuro must export through other enterprises in Tokyo.

It is found that Vietnam is a potential market with the growing economy, much population, increasing Vietnamese people’s income and strong consumption power, Nemuro took the initiative to Vietnam to learn and discuss the cooperation plan on seafood processing and export in the future.

He said Nemuro is very willing to cooperate to export salmon, sanma; transfer the technology and technique to Vietnam. However, the current import duty of 18 percent is the big burden for seafood enterprises in Nemuro. To cooperate more favorably, Nemuro hope Vietnamese Government to consider reducing this duty to zero as soon as possible.

According to the Bilateral Trade Partnership Agreement, Vietnam nearly opens “door” for most Japanese seafood products. However, applying 18 percent import duty for Japanese sanma is totally reasonable. For example, Vietnamese tuna (especially yellowfin tuna) are still subject to the import duty to Japan of 40 percent higher than its neighbors. Vietnam welcomes the cooperative behavior of Nemuro city and wants to “open door” for many Japanese seafood products. Thus, to consider reducing a number of tariff lines, including the potential items of Nemuro such as sanma, tuna completely depends on the level of priority and the “open” of Japanese government.


Foreign enterprises will be participated in catching swell-fish

On 17th January, 2011, Mr. Luong Le Phuong, Deputy Minister ofAgriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said MARD will allow more foreign enterprises to participate in the projects of swell-fish catching and export in Vietnam that increase the competition and avoid the monopoly in the purchase of this fish.

At the conference “the preliminarily review of the pilot project of swell-fish catching, processing and export” in Nha Trang city, Khanh Hoa province, Mr. Phuong said swell-fish is a toxic species, so the management of catching and processing must be careful to avoid affecting the consumers’ health.

In the pilot phase (2009 – 2010), MARD only developed in Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa and only chose one importer of swell-fish to be partner as Korea Poseidon Seafood Company to manage strictly.

In fact, MARD chose Korea Poseidon Seafood because it was the first company that guided Vietnamese farmers and enterprises to catch and process swell-fish basically in accordance with hygiene, food safety standards of both South Korea and Vietnam.

To expand the pilot project of swell-fish catching, processing and export, Mr. Phuong said in the future, MARD will report to the Government to implement in more provinces such as Phu Yen, Quang Ninh and Nghe An.

MARD also asks the Institute of Pasteur for testing toxin level, issuing the quality certificate for products and proposing the localities to seek the suitable catching method to pilot in some fleet.

Seafood processors waste energy, says study

Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta seafood processors, which are leading export industries, use energy inefficiently, according to a new survey.

The survey was conducted in 11 shrimp and 10 tra fish processing factories in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta by International Finance Corporation (IFC), in co-operation with the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

“Our survey revealed that energy policies and human resource training are the two weakest points of these enterprises. All the plants worry about the initial investment but the way they manage energy is below average,” said Le Hoang Viet, director of the Energy Conservation Research and Development Centre, that carried out the survey.

The survey organisers said Viet Nam’s GDP/energy demand growth proportion was double in comparison with developed countries making energy saving a must to be competitive internationally.

The 21 plants surveyed in Can Tho City and An Giang, Dong Thap, Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang and Hau Giang provinces, processed 41,000 tonnes of shrimp and 155,000 tonnes of tra fish in 2009. They spent VND212 billion (US$11 million) on energy.

Viet pointed out that all the factories had already set up other management systems, such as International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HCCP), making a good foundation for the seafood processors to set up Energy Management Systems (EMS).

“Plants should apply the principles of reduction, recycling and renewing into managing energy,” he said.

Viet advised managers to calculate the factories’ energy demands precisely, turn off machines that aren’t being used and reduce the use of refrigeration, steam and ice.

“Managers should regularly maintain storage at 18 minus degrees centigrade,” Viet added.

He said recycling all steam ice, and cold air from refrigeration would help enterprises save a lot of money.

“Biogass should be made from waste treatment and used for generating electricity,” Viet said.

He said old machines were power wasters and investing more in power efficient machinery would save up to 50 per cent of energy costs in the long term.


Read also here

Bangladesh Launches Aquaculture Alliance

Aquaculture Alliance (BAA), a platform of all stakeholders of the shrimp industry, will start (from February) to ensure traceability, quality and increased production of the item, officials said

A 21-member committee of BAA has already been formed earlier this month to organise the sector according to the demands of the foreign buyers and ensure food safety from the production level to export, reports The Financial Express.

This traceability record, the EU recommended to upgrade, would help enhance the credibility of the shrimp industry and acceptability of local shrimps in overseas markets, says the group.

The alliance formed with a view to developing integrated shrimp and fish farming industry incorporating all the stakeholders including fish and shrimp farmers, hatchery owners, ice plant owners, feed producers and millers, processing plants and exporters.

“We are now waiting for the government’s approval and hope the activities of the alliance will start by February,” Maqsudur Rahman, vice president of Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters’ Association (BFFEA) told the FE.

This alliance will bring all the stakeholders from production level to export under one roof to ensure traceability, quality of the products and also increase production, he explained.

The production of Bangladesh is only 250 kg per hectare while neighbouring country India produces 950 kg per hectare, he added.

It will be possible to control and solve all the complaints by the European Union (EU) authority after the alliance is activated, Mr Rahman who is the president of BAA, said.

The alliance will not only ensure quality of products but help the farmers to get fair price because the sector will be inter-linked with all the stake-holders, he said.

“The objective of the alliance is to produce marketable fish or shrimp exclusively through the adaptation of an environment-friendly, ecologically sustainable and socially responsible mechanism,” Humayun Kabir, director of BFFEA said.

This alliance will help us meet buyers’ demand including the EU new rules and regulations as it will bring together all the stakeholders under one roof, he added.

Exporters face problems due to stringent rules imposed by the EU authorities though they are not solely responsible for the crisis, Mr Kabir who is also a director of BAA, said.

Farmers are not aware of using chemicals and the required procedures of the buyers but now the alliance will create awareness among them, he added.

“Forward and backward linkages between the existing component industries of integrated shrimp and fish farming to achieve integration would also be established,” the BAA director said.


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