The warning came from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), although it noted that the country’s total seafood exports will keep rising to earn some US$6.5bn this year, up marginally over last year’sUS$6bn.
In trade for pangasius, more commonly known as white tra fish, European losses would be offset by business in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Algeria, Angola, and Africa.
Shrimp would find new Asian markets such as China and South Korea.
White Tra fish may see a golden year
According to the spokesperson exporters of white tra fish would have a good year in 2012 as its exports are expected to rise and to reach a value of approximately US$2bn by year’s end.
VASEP data reveals that Vietnam exported 600,000 tonnes of pangasius for US$1.8bn in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 26.5% over 2010, when export figures stood at a much less impressive US$1.4 bn.
“Because of the slowdown, prices of rice and soybean, which used to produce animal feed are expected to decrease by 15%,” he said. This, he pointed out would encourage Vietnam fish producers to invest in fish farming in the short term.
Shrimp to attack Asian markets
While seafood consumption may be falling in Europe and the US, it is surging in other parts of Asia.
Shrimp is Vietnam’s flagship seafood export, earning the country US$2.4bn last year, up 13.7 per cent over the previous year, when it stood at US$2.1bn, according to VASEP data.
“But shrimp industries are facing a shortage of materials due to difficulties in capital and breeding. High input costs the main reason why farmer investment in the field is being hindered,” he said.
Better production methods are also mooted.
"To push up efficiency in seafood processing, we have recommended to the government a zoning plan for aquaculture, use of advanced technologies, and strict food safety and hygiene control,” the VASEP spokesperson told FoodNavigator-Asia.