Shrimp certification boost for Vietnam exports

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Fish, Vietnam

Vietnam's drive to boost exports of its sea-food products received
a boost this week, as a number of processors have been honoured for
their aquaculture practices, the country's ministry for fisheries
revealed yesterday.

Sao Ta Foods and Viet Hai Seafood join six other companies in the country now certified with the Global Aquaculture Alliance's (GAA) Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification. During the last few years in particular there has been growing scientific concern that fish stocks both within the EU and on a wider global scale are on the brink of collapse. As such, aquaculture fish farming has become increasingly important to processors in the sea food industry as populations of popular species like Cod and Tuna undergo rapid decline. With Vietnam keen to boost the reputation of its shrimp to tap demand in markets like the US, the promise of greater safety and sustainability could push demand for the country's produce. The GAA is a non-profit trade organisation that encourages greater responsibility in fish and shell food farming. To this end, BAP certification is given to companies that meet specific hygiene and source requirements for greater sustainability. Although it is currently suffering from anti-dumping duties imposed by the US, exports are seen as the key to success for the country's shrimp industry, as well as the wider sea food market as a whole. The Fisheries Ministry has said that it wants to see double-digit annual growth in the business by 2010. The aim is to increase output to more than 2.1 million tonnes - from around 1.4 million tonnes currently - and increase export turnover to US$2.5bn (€1.8bn) from US$1.7bn (€1.2bn). However, not everyone is as optimistic of Aquaculture's benefits for declining fish populations. While accepting that aquaculture could play some role in encouraging sustainable fishing environmental group the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) believes that fish farming alone cannot offer a long term solution to declining fish stocks. They are also concerned that it could also encourage some fishers to break agreed quotas on fish stock that can be caught.

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