Vietnamese seafood producers must comply with international export regulations if they want to continue exporting their products, particularly to the Australian market, which has announced a more stringent inspection system.
Vietnamese seafood exporters admonished

The Vietnamese government has called on seafood producers to comply with international export regulations if they want to continue exporting their products, particularly to the Australian market, which has announced a more stringent inspection system.

The director of the National Agro, Forestry and Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), Nguyễn Như Tiệp, said his agency had been notified Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) about the inspection of seafood products imported to Australia, according to Việt Nam News.

FSANZ said food imported to Australia will be categorised into two groups: high-risk products and supervisory products. Different inspection frequencies will apply to these two groups.

The first group includes such products as boiled crustaceans/shrimp, mackerel/tuna, processed and instant fish, mixed seafood, and monitoring products.

Supervisory foods include fish; fresh, frozen, dried and salted fish paste; sardines; salmon and fish sauces.

Foods will be initially inspected and tested at a rate of 100 of consignments, and once five consecutive consignments have passed inspection, the inspection rate may be reduced to 25%. After further 20 consecutive passes, the inspection rate may be reduced to 5%.

FSANZ said any consignment of high-risk and surveillance foods that fails will return to 100% testing until a history of compliance is re-established.

Vietnamese seafood exports declined to US$117 million in 2015 from the previous year's $225 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
In a related news, officials from the Centre for Aquaculture Testing have been dismissed after being found to have forged certificates of aquaculture products since 2013. Some of those products were harmful to consumers' health.

One of the fired officials, however, filed a complaint, claiming the punishments were too heavy and lacked legal grounds. The official also said the Vietnam Directorate of Fisheries did not provide evidence that he was involved in any wrongdoing.


Asean has got appetite for Vietnamese pangasius

Asean was the fourth-largest importer of Vietnamese pangasius as of June 15 this year, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) said.

The Southeast Asian 10-nation bloc—composed of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—trailed the US, EU and China – Hong Kong. It emerged as a potential market for Vietnamese pangasius last year, but in recent months, shipments to this market slightly decreased, according to Vasep.

Data showed that Vietnamese pangasius exported to Asean this year (as of June 15) was valued at US$62.35 million, down 2.4% from the same period last year. Exports to the three largest single importers within Asean declined: Thailand by 0.6%; Singapore1.9% and the Philippines 1.6% year-on-year.

Most of the pangasius products exported to Thailand and Singapore were frozen fillets or steaks. Thailand remained as a large and stable importer of Vietnamese pangasius in the Asean. In the Thailand market, Vietnamese pangasius competes with Alaskan frozen pollock meat, frozen cod fillets and frozen tilapia fillets.


Vietnamese seafood exports to rise 8% in 2016

Vietnam's seafood exports are likely to rise 8% to US$7.1 billion this year, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep).

Shrimp will remain as the main export product, accounting for about $3 billion, followed by pangasius worth $1.6 billion, tuna $500 million, and squid and octopus $450 million.

In the six months through June, shrimp exports reached $1.3 billion, up 4.8% compared with the same period last year. White-leg shrimp exports (worth $794 million) accounted for 59% of total shrimp exports, up 5.2%, while tiger shrimp ($445 million) accounted for 33%, up 5.3%. The rest consisted of saltwater shrimp.

Exported pangasius hit $790 million, up 5.4% over the same period last year.

Vasep said supplies of shrimp and pangasius are expected to tighten in the second semester as a result of unfavorable weather. Fishing would also encounter several issues including high cost, unimproved preservation methods and low prices.


Philippine aquaculture seeks to spur growth

"The Philippines is in a good position to be a leading player in regional aquaculture."

Thus said Senator Cynthia Villar, chair of the Philippine Senate committee on agriculture and food on Wednesday, July 20, in her keynote address at the opening of Aquatech Philippines in the resort city of Tagaytay south of Manila.

Having one of the world's longest coastlines, Villar said the Philippines ranks seventh among the top fish-producing countries in the world and ninth in aquaculture production of fish, crustaceans and mollusks.

But the Philippines apparently is not living up to its full potentials. For example, in milkfish production it used to consistently maintain its rank of being the world's No. 1 producer. Today, it has been overtaken by Indonesia, which lately is rising as an aquaculture powerhouse.

Villar told the gathering of participants in the aquaculture expo and convention, many of whom were entrepreneurs, exhibitors and aquaculture experts, that they needed to keep the momentum going and further boost the industry, considering that the archipelagic nation had "so much to offer and a lot of room for further expansion".

Villar, nevertheless, cited several gains that the local fishery and aquaculture industries had recently made including successfully convincing the EU to get rid of red card hoisted over it when it strengthened its drive against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF), and enacting a law—signed by former President Benigno Aquino III before he bowed out of office—mandating the establishment of 14 hatcheries in 14 selected coastal provinces.

She said these hatcheries will be set up by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources this and next year in Cebu, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Catanduanes, Agusan del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, Northern Samar and Zamboanga del Norte.

These hatcheries, she said, will be the sources of fingerlings.

Villar also urged the participants to boost the local aquaculture industry's competitiveness, "especially since the regional economic integration under the Asean Economic Community or AEC is upon us".

"The AEC will bring about more business opportunities", she said, noting that its 10 member countries have an aggregate economic size of US$2.3 trillion and a combined population of 616 million. "That is a very sizeable market to tap," she told the opening-day gathering. "And by continually improving your strategies and innovating your systems, you will be more equipped to seize those opportunities".

The two-day 7th Aquatech Philippines, which ends Thursday, has for its theme "Exploring Latest Innovations for Higher Production, Best Alternatives and Strategies for Global Marketability". It features trade show/exhibit, technical conferences and livelihood seminars.

Philippine Senator Cynthia Villar being interviewed by journalists at the opening of the Aquatech
Philippines in Tagaytay City on July 20, 2016   PHOTO BY RICK ALBERTO/eFeedLink


GAA appoints director of strategic engagements

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) has appointed Melanie Siggs to the newly created position of director of strategic engagements.

Siggs will help explore the creation of products and services that meet GAA's goal of adding value to the organisation's proposition while advocating, educating and demonstrating best practices. She will look at the development of non-core activities, identifying opportunities to work with new partners and helping to lead teams to develop proof-of-concept work, prototypes and pilots.

Siggs had acted as an ad hoc advisor to the organisation for many years. She had also been a board member of the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, GAA's educational arm, since 2013.

"I very much enjoy the Global Aquaculture Alliance vision, energy and 'can do' attitude to finding ways that support the development of responsible aquaculture in ways which work for business and best practices. I continue to be passionate about the role of good standards in helping to create change and provide the assurance frameworks needed," Siggs said.

GAA's executive director Wally Stevens extolled Siggs for being "a guiding light for those of us involved with sustainable fisheries and aquaculture".

Siggs will continue in her role as associate director at Sancroft International in London while serving as GAA's head of innovation.


New BAP director of Americas market dev't

Chris Keller has been appointed as Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) director of market development for the Americas, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) said.

The promotion came 14 months after Keller joined GAA as BAP's market development manager-retail for North America.

Keller will oversee the market development team in North America, working with Molly Jacques and Tim Hogan in an effort to grow adoption of the BAP third-party certification programme amongst retail and food-service companies.

He came to BAP with more than 20 years of retail experience, most notably with Walmart Stores. During his 15 years at Walmart, Keller held numerous positions, eventually acting as senior buyer.

"I am very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the continued growth of the BAP program in the Americas," Keller said on his new appointment. "In the past year, I've had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most passionate people in the industry, and I look forward to seeing us expand the reach of responsible aquaculture."

GAA executive director Wally Stevens said, "Chris has been with GAA for just over a year, and during that time, his responsibilities have grown. We are delighted that Chris has taken on this expanded role as he is committed to advancing responsible and sustainable aquaculture around the globe."

Nutriad targeting aquaculture growth in Indonesia

At this year's Indo Livestock, feed additive maker Nutriad launched SANACORE GM, a mycotoxin deactivator for aquaculture.

The company was one of the 350 exhibitors from 33 countries at the event, held last July 27-29.

BK Chew, Nutriad regional director for Asia Pacific, said: "We are excited about the Indonesian market and at this show, we work towards fulfilling our strategy of becoming the practical expert in mycotoxin management".

Glenn Ferrioal (pictured, left), area manager, added, "Nutriad is also bringing the services that come with our mycotoxin deactivators to the Indonesian market. For example, we launched our Mycoman app, which helps our clients in their mycotoxin risk management".

The aquaculture industry in Indonesia is expanding rapidly. Nutriad has been working with producers in the area for many years. During the show, Nutriad held interactive sessions with customers and distributors alike. Ho Gim Chong (pictured, right), technical manager (aqua), elaborated on the launch of Sanacore GM in Indonesia: "We are encouraged by the feedback from our customers, showing reduced mortality caused by bacteria (co-) infections, such as vibrio sp. of shrimp and gut parasites of fish". Chong added that the Nutriad portfolio would help aqua producers in Indonesia solve some of their key challenges.
Chile salmon farmers aims to reduce antibiotics use

Several Chilean salmon producers have embarked on a project that aims to reduce the use of antibiotics in the aquaculture sector by at least 50% by 2018.

The project, called Pincoy, was presented this week by Skretting, AquaGen/Blue Genomics, Pharmaq, Centrovet, Cermaq, Blumar and Ventisqueros, and is supported by SalmonChile and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca).

"The main objective of Pincoy is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used for salmon production in the Chilean industry, and we hope that by 2018 this figure will have dropped to half of what we currently have," said Skretting GM Ronald Barlow, according to 

The Pincoy project also aims to address the septic rickettsial syndrome (SRS), since vaccines are inefficient in treating this disease.

According to Sernapesca, the SRS was responsible last year for almost 80% mortality due to use of antibiotics in Chile.

EU bares plan for North Sea fisheries

The European Commission on Wednesday, Aug. 3, bared a proposal for a multi-annual plan for demersal fish stocks (fish that live and feed near the bottom of the sea) in the North Sea. The proposal aims to ensure that stocks are fished at sustainable levels. It will also bring decision-making closer to fishermen.

The new North Sea plan is the first comprehensive plan for this sea basin. The fisheries of the North Sea are highly complex, involving vessels from at least seven coastal member states, as well as Norway. Vessels use a variety of fishing equipment and their catches consist of a mix of different species, such as cod and haddock, or plaice and sole. The proposal establishes a management plan that takes into account these mixed-fisheries interactions.

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Multi-annual plans are an important tool to shift decision-making to the regional level. We are proposing to bring the North Sea, one of our richest fishing grounds, under such a multi-annual plan".

The proposal for the North Sea builds on the political compromise that the European Parliament and Council reached on the multi-annual plan for the Baltic Sea earlier this year.

Alaska Pollock Inventories Dwindle as Production Capacity is Booked

Production of frozen pollock fillet in China has tightened as orders pile up in the run-up to the Chinese New Year, according to a report in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

The demand is so high demand that some larger plants have been forced to stop taking orders before the annual closures in January.

Global price points are around $1.40/lb CNF European Main Ports for twice frozen IQF Pollock fillets, down about 5% from last year this time at just below $1.50/lb, a news report on said.