MEP Struan Stevenson at the meeting with VASEP leaders

The MEP and Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Struan Stevenson has visited pangasius farms, hatcheries and processing plants in Mekong Delta.

Pangasius farmers and producers were waiting for his visit in processing facilities to show him the development of Vietnam pangasius industry and to make him recognize that his negative comments and criticism over the industry last time were totally wrong.

At the meeting, Mr. Dzung had a presentation on the development of Vietnam seafood industry, especially the booming of pangasius industry and its development steeps over the past 15 years, the achievements and efforts of Vietnam to satisfy international standards and to look towards the sustainability. Read more of this post

Scots MEP welcomes lessons learned on Vietnam aquaculture visit

Having previously raised concerns over standards in the Vietnamese fish farming sector, Struan Stevenson MEP, Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, has now acknowledged that EU consumers and aquaculture businesses have little to fear from growing imports.

With imports of Vietnam’s pangasius fish reaching 230,000 tonnes in 2010, Mr Stevenson had raised concerns over standards of hygiene, welfare, feed and fish health at many of the 1600 fish farms in the country’s Mekong Delta. Read more of this post

Struan Stevenson: “EATING HUMBLE (FISH) PIE”

Immediately after his trip to Vietnam, Mr. Stevenson wrote this op-ed article showing how the visit profoundly altered his wiews on Vietnamese Pangasius in a very positive manner.

Humble pie is a dish best served cold and eaten slowly! In my case, the pie was filled with fish. To be precise, it was filled with Pangasius. It is always difficult for a politician to admit to being wrong, but here goes. I was an arch critic of Pangasius, more than 230,000 tonnes of which were imported into the EU from Vietnam in 2010. Pangasius is a white-fleshed, freshwater-farmed catfish, commonly sold in our supermarkets as Panga Fish or Vietnamese River Cobbler. Most of it comes from the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam, an area teeming with fish farms, over 1600 of which raise Pangasius. Shrimp farms also abound in this hot and humid area of South-East Asia.

I made several speeches and wrote some strongly worded articles attacking this trade, repeating commonly heard prejudices that the Vietnamese fish farms were un-regulated and polluted and their fish processing factories were dirty and unhygienic. I could not have been more wrong. My first sharp rebuttal came from an unexpected source – The Institute of Aquaculture at StirlingUniversity in my own constituency. The large team at Stirling have been working with the Vietnamese fish farmers for years, training them on all aspects of hygiene, welfare, feeding and fish health. They gave me a half-day crash course. Read more of this post

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

European Parliament Member Stevenson visiting Viet Nam’s Pangasius industry

Source: VASEP

MEP Struan Stevenson is paying a visit to Viet Nam and the local Pangasius industry from 13-18 May at the invitation of VASEP after hearing so many misinformation in Europe about the fish.

On the first day of his trip, Stevenson was received by Agricultural and Rural Development vice Minister Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu and Nafiqad vice Director Tran Thi Bich Nga and learned about the fisheries industry in Viet Nam as well as the quality and food safety management system there. Read more of this post

Pangasius: VIDEO: “What I heard this morning has given me a lot of confidence”

Other videos from the interview here

To read more about this news, click here

Source: SEAT Global website

Struan Stevenson lear about Pangasius from SEAT project at Stirling University

‘What I heard this morning has given me a lot of confidence … now I’m pretty well convinced that things are being dealt with in a proper, scientific way’ – Struan Stevenson on the safety and sustainability of pangasius.

n November 2010 Struan Stevenson (MEP and Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee) added to a raft of criticism in the media over Pangasius production in Vietnam and European imports of the finished product.  His comments in the European Parliament (which can be read here,here and here) raised concerns over safety standards of the finished product and welfare standards of those working in the industry.  Read more of this post

MEP Mr Struan Stevenson learn about Pangasius farming

Members of the Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT) project, met in Scotland recently to discuss the development of sustainable pangasius in Viet Nam. They invited MEP and Senior Vice President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee Struan Stevenson to increase his understanding on safety and sustainability of pangasius.

In November 2010 Struan Stevenson added to a raft of criticism in the media over Pangasius production in Viet Nam and European imports of the finished product.

His comments in the European Parliament raised concerns over safety standards of the finished product and welfare standards of those working in the industry. The Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT) project, led by the Institute of Aquaculture at Stirling University, is heavily involved in researching the burgeoning trade in Pangasius from Viet Nam. Read more of this post

Pangasius in the Red list of WWF : Vietnam rejects WWF claim, says its catfish clean

Feeding at a Pangasius Farm, Mekong Delta

Feeding at a Pangasius Farm, Mekong Delta (Source: Qualasa Expertise)

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has rejected a decision by the World Wide Fund for Nature to place tra, the Vietnamese cat fish, in the red list of produce that are farmed/made in filthy/unhygienic conditions or traded illegally.

It moved it from a yellow list in its latest consumer guides for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and Denmark.

The WWF highly recommends not consuming those in the red list and says that consumers can buy products from the yellow list though it is better to choose from a green list.

The green-listed products are good for health and pose no risk to the environment, while yellow-listed ones cause concern over overexploitation leading to extinction and cause harm to the environment and biodiversity.

VASEP’s letter rejecting the new classification has been sent to WWF global seafood co-coordinator Mark Powell.

The association and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have also invited WWF representatives to make a fact-finding tour of Vietnam’s fish farms as well as the tra processing, preservation, and export process.

The WWF has accepted the invitation and will send its representatives next May.

VASEP believed tra has been moved to the red list because of “problems” relating to the environment, feed, chemicals, and medicine used in its farming, but there is no clear evidence for any of this.

Powell told Intrafish, a news and information website meant for global seafood professionals, that the downgrading stemmed from “problems with governance.”

Catfish farming is polluting the environment by discharging untreated wastes and pesticides directly into the environment, causing the risk of spreading infectious diseases from farmed fish to wild ones, he said.

But it is unclear why the WWF has different ratings for the same products in different markets.

Before the downgrade, organic pangasius was on the green list in Germany but on both the yellow and red lists in Belgium.

WWF Vietnam said it did not contribute anything to the assessment and so knows nothing about the criteria used in the case of the pangasius, but has contacted its main office in Switzerland for details.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong, calling it an inaccurate assessment of Vietnamese catfish, told Tuoi Tre it is a blow for the industry.

Most tra processing and export companies have developed quality systems from breeding to processing, he pointed out.

Many have received Global GAP certification which assesses standards for agricultural produce, including aquaculture.

It is primarily designed to reassure consumers that production of their chosen food includes minimal detrimental environmental impact and limited use of chemicals and ensures worker health and safety and animal welfare.

Vietnam exported 538,200 tons of tra to more than 120 markets, including the US and the EU, for US$1.15 billion in the first 10 months of this year.

The EU is the biggest market for Vietnamese catfish, accounting for 36.8 percent of exports and worth $423 million in the first 10 months of this year.

Fighting on many fronts

Vietnamese seafood exporters last month criticized a European parliament member who alleged that pangasius or tra is farmed in “filthy” pools and polluted rivers.

They asked Struan Stevenson of Scotland to visit farms on the Mekong River and see the breeding pools for himself, Thanh Nien newspaper reported.

In his keynote address to the European Parliament early November, Stevenson said the river where the fish are raised is one of the most polluted on earth and factories along its banks pumped thousands of tons of contaminants daily into its slow-moving waters.

“As a result, the water is teeming with bacteria and poisoned with industrial effluents including arsenic, mercury, and DDT,” Stevenson said on his website, http://www.struanstevenson.com.

In his speech, Stevenson also said imports of the cheap fish were undercutting European fish farmers and allowing multinational firms to exploit virtual “slave labor” in Vietnam.

The US catfish industry has also accused Vietnam of raising fish in unsanitary conditions.

In October the Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) began airing TV ads urging the government to transfer the responsibility of inspecting pangasius imports from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Agriculture.

In the ads, the CFA said the Mekong is “full of contaminants.”

In May it launched www.safecatfish.com, which attacks the sanitary quality of catfish imported from Vietnam.

It called the Mekong Delta, where the pangasius is raised, “polluted and contaminated.” Posted on the site is a new report titled “Dirty Waters, Dangerous Fish” that makes allegations about the “unsanitary” conditions in which the fish are farmed.

But the National Fisheries Institute shot back accusing the CFA of distorting the truth and scaring consumers into believing that imported catfish is unsafe to eat.

Stephen Taylor, sales director of the UK-based Findus Group, was quoted by the website fishsite.com as saying last month that catfish is a good choice for the EU consumers.

He assured the products are safe since they are imported by the most prestigious importers worldwide.

 

Source: TuoiTre News

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