The Hanoitimes - Agriculture and aquaculture sectors account for 52 percent of GDP in the Mekong Delta region with shrimp and Tra and Basa fish as key export products. Therefore, Tra fish industry has always been committed to improving its products’ quality.
Accepted in more than 120 markets
Many Tra fish breeding areas in Vietnam adopted international standards, allowing their products to be exported to more than 120 countries and territories around the world.
Since 2003, the provinces of Dong Thap and An Giang and Can Tho city, the biggest Tra fish suppliers for seafood processing factories, have been following international standards including the Global Good Agriculture Practices (Global GAP), the highest international standard.
Take Gentraco Corporation as an example, the company has a modern water treatment system for its 60-ha breeding area. It also uses safe biological products in Tra fish breeding.
Le Chi Binh, Vice Chairman of the An Giang Fisheries Association, affirmed the safety of Tra fish breeding in the province. He said large-scale areas regularly submit reports on environmental impact of fish breeding while smaller ones must have an environmental safety certificate.
An Giang has been using the quality management certification system SQF 1000 introduced by the US Food Marketing Institute (FMI) since 2003 and has now adopted the Global GAP standards, said Binh.
Vietnam’s Tra fish products met requirements of 120 countries and territories all over the world, many of which are high demanding markets such as the EU, Australia, the US, and Japan. Tra fish export reaches an average annual turnover of US$1.5 billion.
The Government has also built a development strategy for the sector to ensure its sustainability and ecological safety.
Great effort to build safe breeding areas
Despite many difficulties, Tra fish breeders in the Mekong Delta region have been working closely with domestic and international organizations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to build safe breeding areas to meet WWF’s requirements. However, the WWF member organizations in six European countries made an incorrect decision while the cooperation is still developing.
Vo Van Thanh, a farmer in Dong Thap, said he was very surprised at WWF’s decision to place Vietnam’s Tra fish on its Red List because he himself was being trained by WWF to build safe breeding areas.
In fact, many organizations and institutions in Vietnam are moving toward the sustainable development of the industry. They focus much attention to protecting the environment by treating sewage and limiting the use of chemical substances to deal with epidemics. Besides, farmers are now all aware of food hygiene requirements.
In addition, businesses are cooperating with the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 2 (RIA 2) to introduce modern production models to qualify for Global GAP certification.
Associate Professor Nguyen Thanh Phuong, from Can Tho University, said the university and the RIA 2 are working with some Tra fish breeders to introduce a pilot model for improving the breeding management.
The model aims to reduce production cost and protect the environment to ensure the safety of the breeding area.
Vietnam’s aquaculture industry, particularly Tra fish sector, is making every effort to improve the quality of the products and protect the environment. It needs support and cooperation from prestigious organizations like the WWF.
However, WWF’s decision, based on unofficial information, has negatively affected tens of thousands of Tra fish breeders and producers in Vietnam, as well as and consumers around the world.