Politician has change of heart over pangasius

Scottish politician Struan Stevenson has had a change of heart.

Late last year, the VP of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee took a jab at pangasius, calling Vietnam’s Mekong River where the fish is raised “filthy” and accusing the industry of “ruthlessly” exploiting workers.

But on Monday, after accepting the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers’ (VASEP) invitation to visit Vietnam and seeing the industry first-hand, Stevenson rescinded his criticism, this time calling the industry “dynamic.” Read more of this post


Viet Nam – WWF cooperation: a new chapter for Viet Nam’s Pangasius

At the witness of a representative of the Directorate of Fisheries (D-Fish) and the media, representativesof VASEP, VINAFISH, WWF International and WWF Viet Nam on late December 17, 2010 inked the WWF – Viet Nam Cooperation Agreement for Improvement of Environmental/Social Responsibility of the Pangasius Industry in Viet Nam for Sustainable Development to Achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certification.

In early December, WWF in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark moved Viet Nam Pangasius products from the ‘yellow’ category (can still buy with consideration) to the ‘red’ one (should not buy) in their consumer seafood guides for 2010-2011. Read more of this post

WWF campaign against pangasius gathers pace

The World Wildlife Fund seems to be pursuing a vendetta against Vietnam’s pangasius industry. First there was the saga late last year when the conservation organization placed the fish on its “red list” of species to avoid, which ignited an uproar. Now its “fish expert,” Catherine Zucco, has been actively involved in making a program denigrating the industry, which will air on German TV on 9 March.

Called “The Pangasius Lie,” two presenters from the NDR channel, Michael Höft and Christian Jentzsch, joined forces with Zucco to “research” pangasius in German supermarkets and in Vietnam where “90 percent of the pangasius fillets” sold in Germany are produced. Read more of this post

Vietnam: Tra fish regain their sterling reputation

Vietnam’s tra fish has beaten down ungrounded slurs from World Wildlife Fund’s branches in six European countries.

A source from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam told VIR today that the tra fish was in late January, 2011 removed from the red list and officially re-listed in WWF’s yellow list, which encouraged consumers use tra fish as a quite safe dish.

“I am happy to report that Vietnamese pangasius is off the red list on all of the European WWF seafood guides,” said WWF global seafood coordinator Mark Powell in a statement sent to WWF Vietnam. Read more of this post

Environmental group removes warning on Vietnamese catfish

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has removed a warning that advised consumers not to eat Vietnamese catfish, authorities said Thursday.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers, who had asked for the removal, welcomed the decision, saying it would help consumers feel more confident when eating Vietnamese catfish.

The WWF’s fish-buying guides for consumers had rated Vietnamese pangasius, a type of catfish, as ‘red’ on a sustainability scale because allegedly unsustainable aquaculture practices.

Authorities criticized the group for relying on information from its colleagues in Europe and not working with Vietnam or visiting catfish farms to gather facts.

Vietnam last year exported 600,000 tons of the fish to more than 100 countries with a turnover of 1.4 billion dollars.


WWF Sweden to remove Tra fish from red list

he Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) has reported that the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Sweden will remove Vietnamese Tra fish from their Red List in its guidance manual for seafood consumers.

This was the result of discussions between Le Thi Thu Nguyet, Vietnam ’s Trade Counsellor in Sweden and Ingar Naslund, who is in charge of fisheries at WWF Sweden, earlier this month.

VASEP said that Mark Powell, the WWF’s International Global Seafood Programme Coordinator, has recommended to global consumers that Vietnamese Tra fish is safe to eat.

Earlier, Tra fish products were removed from the WWF’s Red List in Norway , Switzerland and the Netherlands , a month after Vietnam signed a deal with the WWF on sustainably developing Tra fish in December 2010.
In Vietnam , Tra fish play an important role in the agricultural economy. In 2010, the country exported about 650,000 tonnes of fish, earning 1.4 billion USD.

However, VASEP Vice Chairman Duong Ngoc Minh said that due to certain challenges, such as a lack of materials and fries, diseases and inclement weather, it will be difficult to meet its plan of exporting 1.45-1.55 billion USD worth of Tra fish in 2011.

Source: Vietnam +

Tra fish taken off WWF’s red list

WWF logo




Viet Nam’s tra fish (pangasius) has been removed from the WWF’s red list published by the WWF for Nature in Belgium and Norway, said deputy director of the Fisheries General Department Pham Anh Tuan. Viet Nam and the World Wildlife Fund signed an agreement last December to remove the fish from the organisation’s red list. The country expects to export 1.2-1.3 million tonnes of tra fish this year, worth US$1.45-1.55 billion.

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.


Too many confusing pangasius requirements

Breeders and exporters of tra and basa fish now know they will have to meet a litany of requirements to be able to export their product to various markets. Further, the fish must satisfy many different standards set by individual importing countries – and different standards will only be valid for specific markets.

According to Secretary General of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers(VASEP) Truong Dinh Hoe, businesses must have HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to be able to sell their seafood to the US. The system is applied to identify potential food safety hazards so the risk can be curbed or eliminated.

The problem lies in the fact that, using HACCP, Vietnam will be able to export its seafood to the US – but not necessarily to European Union (EU) member countries. Vietnamese firms will therefore have to spend large sums of money to acquire the necessary different certificates to meet the requirements of different countries.

Do Xuan Mai of the An Giang Fisheries Association (AFA) noted that if the US approves the Farm Bill 2008, Vietnam’s panga will be classified as “catfish,” meaning that the product will then have to satisfy not only HACCP, but also many other standards, reports VietNamNet Bridge.

And to be able to conduct business with EU member countries, Vietnamese firms must follow the union’s code requirements. Additionally, so they can enter the union’s retail chains, the fish products will have to satisfy Good Agriculture Practices (GlobalGap) standards.

In the past, EU countries employed EurepGAP which has now been changed to GlobalGap, VASEP said.

After apologizing for placing Vietnam’s pangasius in its “red list” of products to avoid and then removing it, the World Wild Fund(WWF) reached an agreement with Vietnam on the use of its safety standards for the tra and basa industry. By 2015, about 50 per cent of the country’s “Vietnamese catfish” exports will have to satisfy the standards of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council(ASC).

Vo Van Thanh, a farmer who owns 5 ha of panga fish ponds in Dong Thap province, complained that having to apply so many standards is confusing. Moreover, he still does not know whether he should use GlobalGap or SQF 1000 standards, and now will also have to take ASC requirements into account.

The cost of production is now about VND 20,000 (USD 1.02) per kg, of which 70-80 per cent is spent on feeding the fish and 10 per cent on medicine. Applying the standards will consume 10 per cent of total expenses.

Truong Dinh Hoe noted that WWF’s wish to have Vietnam employ the organisation’s ASC standards for tra and basa exacerbated the confusion among farmers.


Vietnam, WWF sign deal to promote tra fish

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Fisheries General Department and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on December 17 reached an agreement to promote Vietnam’s tra (pangasius) fish so that it can attain global sustainable development standards.


At the meeting, the two sides signed a long-term cooperation memorandum of understating (MOU) to help the fish earn the Aquatic Stewardship Council (ASC) certified credit label, which will bring benefit and market access for the product.

The signing came two days after Mark Powell, global seafood coordinator for WWF, agreed to remove the fish from the Red List in its consumer guidance manual.

Under the MOU, the WWF will take responsibility for promoting ASC certified Vietnamese tra fish globally in order to help fish breeders earn a premium value for their product.

Accordingly, preparations for the work are planned to be completed in the first half of 2011, including the organization of seminars and training courses for fish farmers and the processors.

It is hoped that this will create a consensus among them in complying with ASC standards.

According to Nguyen Huu Dung, vice chairperson of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the Fisheries General Department and WWF set a goal of attaining relevant international sustainable development standards of 25 percent for Vietnam’s export tra fish volume for the year 2011 and 2012, with 10 percent to be certified by ASC.

The target is set to increase to 75 percent, with 30 percent certified by the ASC by 2014.

From 2015, it is hoped that 100 percent of export tra fish will achieve international standards on sustainable development, with half of them certified by the ASC.

Mr. Dung said Vietnam has exported 650,000 tons of tra fish a year and the volume will increase to about 800,000 tons in the next five years, meaning that the country will have 400,000 tons of tra fish attaining ASC standards.

He said WWF promised that prices of the Vietnamese tra fish will be much higher, if the fish is certified by ASC.

Though WWF said it will take responsibility for seeking financial sources to support Vietnam in the process of attaining ASC certification, it did not mention if Vietnamese farmers need to pay for the ASC certificate.

At the signing ceremony, the Fisheries General Department reported that WWF officially removed Vietnamese tra fish from its ‘Red List on December 17, and advised consumers worldwide to continue buying the fish.



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